Russia blames rocket failure on mistake during assembly


A deformed sensor caused the harrowing Soyuz rocket launch abort that forced its American and Russian crew to perform a emergency landing last month, Russia's space agency Roscosmos announced Thursday (Oct. 31).

Russian officials believe that the defective component was damaged during assembly.

The rocket producer will also take apart two other rockets which have been recently assembled and are due to launch in the coming weeks and then reassemble them, Skorogobatov said.

During the aborted launch October 11, the crew capusle carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin was able to safely separate from the rocket after getting a warning signal during separation, firing engines to gain distance from the booster, according to NASA spokesperson Reid Weisman.

Sergei Krikalev, the executive director of "manned programs" for Russia's space corporation, Roscosmos, said a sensor on board the rocket failed to properly signal the separation of the first and second stages.

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.

Russian cosmonaut Aleksei Ovchinin and USA astronaut Nick Hague were aboard the capsule bound for the ISS and were unhurt in the incident, according to reports.

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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.

About 90 seconds into the rocket's flight, the U.S. space agency Nasa reported a problem with the booster rocket between the first and second stages of separating.

The Soyuz rocket launched at 08:40 local time (02:40 GMT) from the Baikanour cosmodrome site on 11 October when the malfunction occurred.

They had initially been scheduled to land on December 13 after their stint on the ISS, a joint project of the space agencies of America, Europe, Russia, Japan and Canada.

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

Since then, Nasa has paid Russian Federation for seats on its Soyuz rockets to ferry its astronauts to the station.