Russian Federation releases video showing Soyuz rocket failure as it happened

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

The executive director of the Russian space agency said today its investigation found the failure was caused by a malfunctioning sensor.

The Soyuz-FG rocket carrying a NASA astronaut and a Roscosmos cosmonaut failed two minutes into the October 11 flight, sending their emergency capsule into a sharp fall back to Earth. The two men made an emergency landing in Kazakhstan, and were soon rescued.

The Soyuz is now the only rocket that is capable of sending humans to the ISS and a launch failure hasn't happened since 1983.

"The reason found by the commission (investigating the accident) was the abnormal operation of a sensor that signals the separation of the first and second stages", Krikalyov said at a space industry event in Moscow. Specifically, additional checks were introduced during preparation of the Soyuz 2.1B rocket, which was launched on October 25.

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

The failure occurred about 2 minutes after liftoff from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, when one of the Soyuz's four strap-on boosters (the one known as Block D) failed to separate properly and instead slammed into the rocket's core stage.

Also Thursday, the Kremlin confirmed that Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin has kept the president up to date on the situation surrounding the Soyuz-FG incident, and will do so again during his next working meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Russian rockets have experienced an array of glitches in recent years, but the latest mishap was the first to be experienced by a manned Soyuz capsule since 1983, when a crew narrowly escaped before a launchpad explosion. When the Soyuz launch failed earlier this month, uncertainty over the ISS crew launch schedule led to speculation that the space station would have to be abandoned, at least for the time being.

Roscosmos deputy durector Alexander Lopatin noted Thursday that the October 11 accident caused Roscosmos "reputational damage", but noted such incidents were not unique to Russian cosmonautics, and said that accidents are important lessons which must be learned from. Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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