Sensor damage led to Soyuz rocket failure, Russian investigator says

Russian investigators probing the failed launch of a Soyuz rocket transporting a crew to the ...

Posted: Nov 1, 2018 3:12 PM
Updated: Nov 1, 2018 3:12 PM

Russian investigators probing the failed launch of a Soyuz rocket transporting a crew to the International Space Station last month said damage to a sensor during the rocket's assembly led to the malfunction that forced an emergency landing.

Oleg Skorobogatov, the head of the commission probing the failure, announced the findings at a news conference Thursday in the Moscow region. He said the "abnormal separation" of the booster could be attributed to damage to the sensor. This caused the failure of a lid opening to an oxidizer tank's nozzle cover.

Aviation and aerospace industry

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Continents and regions

Eastern Europe

Europe

Russia

Space and astronomy

Space industry

Spacecraft and satellites

Government and public administration

Government organizations - US

Investigations

NASA

Politics

Russia meddling investigation

Space exploration

Space stations

US federal departments and agencies

US government independent agencies

"The launch ended ... due to the abnormal separation of one of the side blocks (block D) that hit the central block (block A ) in the fuel tank, which led to its depressurization and, consequently, to the loss of stabilization of the space rocket," Skorobogatov told reporters.

Dramatic footage showed the capsule carrying the crew thumping down in a plume of dust, minutes after it launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The rocket had lifted off at 2:40 p.m. local time (4:40 a.m. ET) on a journey that was expected to involve four orbits of the Earth and take six hours.

Skorobogatov said the incident occurred around two minutes into the launch. He added that two additional rockets may have the same defect, and said the commission had recommended rechecking those rocket assemblies.

The Soyuz was ferrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin to the ISS for a six-month stay. Both survived an emergency landing following the booster failure.

Hague, who joined NASA's astronaut corps in 2013, was on his first space mission. He and Ovchinin were due to join Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, NASA Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev on the ISS. Those three astronauts arrived at the station in June.

Related: Astronaut recounts harrowing failed launch

NASA currently depends on Russian Soyuz launch systems to carry crew members to the station.

Collaboration between the US and Russian space agencies has largely steered clear of geopolitical controversies, despite a standoff between Washington and Moscow that has continued since Russia's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

In August, however, the detection of a minute pressure leak on the International Space Station became the subject of intense media speculation in Russia. The leak was quickly repaired, but Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin suggested that the problem was caused by something other than an accident or production defect.

Speaking with reporters in Moscow before the failed launch last month, NASA director Jim Bridenstine said that Russian-American cooperation in space remained robust.

"That relationship is strong, and whatever happens terrestrially, we've always been able to keep space exploration and discovery and science separate from whatever terrestrial disputes there may be," Bridenstine said.

"What we've got to do is we've got to very dispassionately allow the investigation to go forward without speculation, without rumor, without innuendo, without conspiracy," he continued.

Terre Haute
Mostly Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 79°
Robinson
Partly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Indianapolis
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 74°
Rockville
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 74°
Casey
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 73°
Brazil
Mostly Cloudy
76° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 76°
Marshall
Partly Cloudy
76° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 76°
Scattered storms, warm evening
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1388634

Reported Deaths: 25566
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook55620110461
DuPage923681316
Will769181032
Lake683491014
Kane59419807
Winnebago34106506
Madison30930526
McHenry29182294
St. Clair28316519
Peoria23443342
Champaign21100154
Sangamon19094240
McLean18553187
Tazewell17227305
Rock Island15245329
Kankakee14550217
Kendall1327899
LaSalle12779250
Macon10997211
DeKalb10116121
Vermilion10021142
Adams8677126
Williamson7595134
Whiteside7199174
Boone683677
Ogle620683
Grundy598678
Clinton578991
Coles5770100
Knox5642153
Jackson510065
Henry507870
Livingston489691
Woodford483282
Stephenson481985
Macoupin478288
Effingham476872
Franklin454178
Marion4513117
Jefferson4422122
Monroe438094
Lee419354
Randolph416487
Fulton405159
Logan396964
Morgan393482
Christian383875
Montgomery379474
Bureau378383
Fayette322555
Perry320360
Iroquois313867
McDonough290851
Jersey271652
Douglas260636
Saline260357
Lawrence241127
Shelby232638
Union228141
Crawford214525
Bond208724
Cass203527
Ford188948
Warren184148
Clark183733
Jo Daviess182724
Pike181853
Wayne181053
Hancock180631
Carroll178337
Richland176940
Edgar176740
White170626
Washington164825
Moultrie163128
De Witt157229
Mason154145
Piatt152414
Clay149643
Mercer149334
Johnson147616
Greene145134
Massac135840
Wabash135612
Cumberland130119
Menard125012
Jasper116718
Marshall108119
Hamilton84215
Schuyler7797
Brown7286
Pulaski7007
Stark64824
Edwards57712
Calhoun5302
Henderson52814
Scott4881
Putnam4863
Alexander47411
Gallatin4694
Hardin39112
Pope3284
Out of IL350
Unassigned02433

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 750702

Reported Deaths: 13766
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032371783
Lake556801007
Allen41671691
St. Joseph36983564
Hamilton36570417
Elkhart29394459
Tippecanoe22894225
Vanderburgh22555400
Porter19354325
Johnson18432388
Hendricks17615317
Clark13207193
Madison13141344
Vigo12612253
LaPorte12418221
Monroe12202175
Delaware10955198
Howard10298225
Kosciusko9626120
Hancock8563145
Bartholomew8167157
Warrick7858156
Floyd7785180
Grant7234179
Wayne7161201
Boone6943103
Morgan6747141
Dubois6215118
Marshall6210116
Cass6008109
Dearborn589778
Henry5895109
Noble580987
Jackson508975
Shelby501096
Lawrence4738122
Gibson444793
Clinton441255
Harrison441173
DeKalb439685
Montgomery437590
Whitley406443
Huntington402681
Steuben399859
Miami393169
Jasper387754
Knox375890
Putnam372360
Wabash360683
Ripley347070
Adams345455
Jefferson335885
White331653
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay266548
Washington245434
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220748
Sullivan214443
Owen211658
Fulton202242
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188155
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166146
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113736
Brown104243
Crawford102416
Benton101514
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8138
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420