Science

See video from the Russian rocket that failed with NASA astronaut aboard

See video from the Russian rocket that failed with NASA astronaut aboard

The head of the Russian space agency earlier blamed the failure on a malfunction of a sensor, but didn't explain why it didn't work.

Although the official report on the cause of a Soyuz rocket failure won't be released until Thursday, a Russian official disclosed its central conclusion a day early, the country's news agency TASS reports.

That target date falls less than eight weeks after the October 11 launch anomaly, which forced the Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin to make an emergency landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

They landed safely on a steppe in Kazakhstan, but the aborted mission dealt another blow to the troubled Russian space program that serves as the only way to deliver astronauts to the orbiting outpost.

"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.

The video, which was posted various places including the official Roscosmos Twitter account, shows the rocket launch from the very start all the way to its eventual abort.

Last week, Russian Federation successfully launched a Soyuz rocket for the first time since the failure.

The Soyuz was carrying one Russian and one American astronaut when it blasted out of Baikonur Cosmodrome on its mission to the International Space Station. "It was damaged during the assembling of the strap-on boosters with the core stage (the Packet) at the Baikonur Cosmodrome".

The incident, on 11 October, was the first serious launch problem by a manned Soyuz space mission since 1983.

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

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.

But the failure is worrisome, since Soyuz is the only human-rated spacecraft used to get people to and from the space station.

Russian space officials plan to conduct two other unmanned Soyuz launches before launching a crew to the space station.

An uncrewed Soyuz ISS mission will precede the December 3 liftoff, Russian space officials added today: A Soyuz will launch a robotic Russian Progress cargo ship toward the orbiting lab on November 16.


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