Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Crew, including Canadian, could be heading to space station December 3: Russians

Russian official says Soyuz rocket failure caused by an errant sensor Crew, including Canadian, could be heading to space station Dec. 3: Russian officials
Doris Mccormick | 03 November, 2018, 21:43

He explained that "it could have happened only during the ... rocket on-site assembling at the Baikonur Cosmodrome", ruling out any design errors.

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.

Russian Federation said today the launch of a Soyuz rocket failed last month due to a sensor that was damaged during assembly but insisted that the spacecraft remains reliable.

The accident was the first serious launch problem experienced by a manned Soyuz space mission since 1983, when a crew narrowly escaped before a launchpad explosion.

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

After the successful emergency landing both the Russian and U.S. space agencies praised the Soviet-designed rocket, with Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine saying last month that United States astronauts will continue using the Soyuz and praising its "resilience".

This was ultimately what doomed the mission, as the piece slammed into the side of the second stage booster fuel tank. They had been due to land on December 13.

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Russian officials pledged to improve oversight during assembly of the spacecraft.

Both NASA and Roskosmos said the astronauts were in good condition after their capsule landed about 20 kilometers east of the Kazakh city of Zhezqazghan.

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.

Alexander Lopatin, the deputy head of Roscosmos, said that "appropriate law enforcement authorities" will now look into who was responsible for the assembly error.

"It has been proven and supported by the documented evidence that the sensor [failure] is to blame for the accident", said the the commission chief Oleg Skorobogatov.

The crew is set to include Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, who was originally scheduled to fly to the station December 20 on a six-month mission.

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