Soyuz rocket: 'Faulty sensor' led to launch failure

Ismael LynchNov 02, 2018

"The abnormal separation was caused by the nonopening of the lid of the nozzle meant to separate aside Block D oxidizer tank, due to the deformation of the separation sensor pin [which was bent by 6 degrees and 45 minutes]", Roscosmos officials said in a statement today.

Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, has released footage from a camera on board the Soyuz rocket that failed last month, forcing a dramatic emergency landing of the two astronauts on board.

The crew - NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin - had their space capsule ejected from the rocket and survived without injury.

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.

Oleg Skorobogatov, who led the probe into the accident, told reporters on Thursday that the investigation found that the sensor was damaged during the final assembly at the launch pad in Kazakhstan.

"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.

Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, posted a video of the botched launch on Twitter on Thursday.

The Soyuz "remains the most reliable rocket", said Dmitry Baranov, the acting director of Russia's Energia rocket and space corporation.

Russian rockets are manufactured in Russia and then transported by rail to the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome.

Russian Federation suspended all launches after the accident on October 11, unprecedented for Russia's post-Soviet manned launches, that saw the rocket fail minutes after blast-off. "It was damaged during the assembling of the strap-on boosters with the core stage (the Packet) at the Baikonur Cosmodrome".

All manned missions were put on hold until investigations behind the launch failure were completed - which put UAE's mission to send its first Emirati astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) onboard the Soyuz MS-12 mission on April 5 into question as well.

The incident was the first serious launch problem by a manned Soyuz mission since 1983.

The rocket had been transporting two personnel, one Russian and one American, to the International Space Station (ISS) when they had to abort.

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