Russian official says Soyuz rocket failure caused by an errant sensor

Pablo Tucker
November 3, 2018

"It has been proven, fully confirmed, that this happened specifically because of this sensor, and that could only have happened during the package's assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome", he said. The two men landed safely on a steppe in Kazakhstan in the accident, the first of its kind for Russia's manned program in over three decades.

The carrier rocket was supposed to deliver to ISS the spacecraft "Soyuz MS-10" with Russian Alexei Ovchinin and American Nick Haig on Board.

Russian space officials plan to conduct one more unmanned Soyuz launch from Russia and one overseas before launching a crew to the space station.

Russian Federation said today the launch of a Soyuz rocket failed last month due to a sensor that was damaged during assembly but insisted that the spacecraft remains reliable.

A crew crisis at the International Space Station could be averted, with Russia's Roscosmos saying this month's Soyuz launch incident was caused by a sensor failure.

One of the side boosters was inaccurately attached to the rocket, the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin said, commenting on the probe and adding that the assembly specialists violated some procedures in the process that eventually led to the abortive launch.

Russian cosmonaut and mission commander Alexei Ovchinin and United States astronaut flight engineer Nick Hague ejected in an emergency capsule on October 11 after the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle taking them to the ISS failed due to a malfunctioning booster.

"The cause of a non-standard separation" was a "deformation" of a part during assembly, Skorobogatov told a news conference at Russia's mission control outside Moscow.

After the successful emergency landing both the Russian and USA space agencies praised the Soviet-designed rocket, with Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine saying last month that USA astronauts will continue using the Soyuz and praising its "resilience".

Referencing findings of an official inquiry into the accident, Skorobogatov said two more Soyuz rockets might have the same defect.

The lives of Ovchinin and Hague were protected by an automatic emergency rescue system called SAS.

The upcoming launch will loft cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques.

The rocket producer will also take apart two other rockets that have been recently assembled and are due to launch in the coming weeks and then re-assemble them, Skorobogatov said.

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