Published: Thu, November 01, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Soyuz rocket: 'Faulty sensor' led to launch failure

Soyuz rocket: 'Faulty sensor' led to launch failure

Roscosmos executive director Sergei Krikalyov told the RIA Novosti state news agency: "The industry is now making significant efforts to move forward the launch to December 3".

The launch failure last month of a manned mission to space was caused by a faulty sensor that was damaged during the Soyuz rocket's assembly at the cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the head of a Russian commission investigating the incident said on Thursday.

It was that explosion that caused the briefly-terrifying moment in the live launch video when the crew were briefly shaken around, prior to the capsule returning to land in Kazakhstan.

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

The crew members, Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and American astronaut Nick Hague, were then recovered in good health from an escape capsule.

Roscosmos has scheduled a press conference for November 1 to further detail the outcome of its investigation. That crew includes Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, Serena Aunon-Chancellor of NASA and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos.


The Soyuz-FG rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin failed shortly into the October 11 flight, sending their emergency capsule into a sharp fall back to Earth. As a result, one of the side-mounted rocket boosters did not separate properly from the vehicle and collided with the rocket.

Despite their dramatic descent and landing, both men were recovered unharmed, the space agencies said.

"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.

A top Russian official earlier blamed the failure on a malfunction of a sensor but didn't explain why it didn't work.

Russian Federation is the only country now able to send crew to the ISS, after Nasa's Space Shuttle programme ended in 2011.

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