Published: Thu, November 01, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Russian Federation blames rocket failure on mistake during assembly

Russian Federation blames rocket failure on mistake during assembly

A Russian Soyuz rocket capsule was forced to make an emergency landing shortly after launch last month because of a faulty sensor, investigators say.

They warned that two other Soyuz rockets could be defective, and said additional checks have been introduced.

Sergei Krikalyov, a senior Roscosmos official, was quoted by state news agency Tass as saying the next manned launch had been planned for mid-December, but that Russian Federation was trying to bring the date forward so that the ISS is not briefly left without a crew.

The last time Russian Federation saw an aborted manned launch was in 1983, when two Soviet cosmonauts jettisoned and landed safely after a launch pad explosion.

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.

Roscosmos has scheduled a press conference for November 1 to further detail the outcome of its investigation.

The malfunction led to one of the four boosters on the first stage failing to detach correctly and colliding with a fuel tank of the second stage, which exploded.

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The trio had originally been scheduled to blast off on December 20, but had their trip brought forward after the failed October 11 launch with Russia's Aleksey Ovchinin and NASA's Nick Hague on board.

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

Russian space officials say they hope to resume sending crews to the International Space Station on December 3 after an October launch failed because of a technical malfunction.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos immediately launched an investigation into the rocket failure.

"The reason for the abnormal separation. was due to a deformation of the stem of the contact separation sensor.", Skorobogatov told reporters.

Russian rockets are manufactured in Russia and then transported by rail to the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome. Three people remain in orbit: American astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, German ISS Commander Alexander Gerst, and Russian Sergey Prokopyev.

The Soyuz rocket used to launch astronauts has three stages, or segments.

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