Here’s what caused that Russian Soyuz rocket malfunction in October

Mindy Sparks
November 2, 2018

An investigation by the Russian space agency determined that a malfunctioning sensor caused a Soyuz rocket to fail shortly after it was launched in Kazakhstan on October 11.

Russian cosmonaut and mission commander Alexei Ovchinin and USA astronaut flight engineer Nick Hague ejected in an emergency capsule, landed in Kazakhstan, and were soon rescued. The announcement means both the present crew aboard the ISS and the 15 partner nations that operate the space laboratory can breathe a sigh of relief. Roscosmos says it now intends to resume launches to the International Space Station shortly, with a cargo launch planned for November 16 and a manned launch on December 3.

"It was damaged during the assembling of the strap-on boosters with the core stage (the Packet) at the Baikonur Cosmodrome", said Roscosmos, adding that the Emergency Rescue System functioned properly and the crew acted accordingly. According to the investigation committee, what happened instead was that the faulty sensor caused one of the strap-on boosters to improperly separate and collide with the main rocket, resulting in decompression of one of the fuel tanks and triggering the automatic abort.

In light of these findings Roscosmos will develop preventive measures to avoid such malfunctions in future. Before the October 11 incident, the last failure of a manned Soyuz launch occurred in 1983; that crew also landed safely.

Translation: Launch of the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle with a manned spacecraft #SoyuzMS10.

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