Onboard footage of the aborted Soyuz Russian rocket launch released

Onboard footage of the aborted Soyuz Russian rocket launch released

Kenneth Drake
November 2, 2018

In the first official report on the cause of the October 11 accident, Roscosmos said a sensor that indicated the separation of the first two stages of the rocket malfunctioned.

Stunning new footage of last month's near-catastrophic Soyuz rocket mishap, released Thursday by Russian space agency Rocosmos, shows the harrowing moment when everything went wrong, just as the rocket escaped the clutches of gravity.

Russian cosmonaut and mission commander Alexei Ovchinin and United States astronaut flight engineer Nick Hague ejected in an emergency capsule on October 11 after the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle taking them to the ISS failed due to a malfunctioning booster.

In the aborted mission, a space capsule carrying a two-man Russian-American crew malfunctioned after liftoff and landed safely in Kazakhstan.

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

"The cause of the abnormal separation was the failure to open the lid of the exhaust nozzle of the oxidizer tank of the "D" block due to the deformation of the stem of the contact separation sensor committed during assembly of the "package" at the Baikonur Cosmodrome", he said.

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Two astronauts made emergency landing in Kazakhstan after failure of Soyuz rocket on October 11.

Two more Soyuz rockets at the Baikonur and Kourou spaceports with the same defect have been discovered, Skorobogatov said, with additional checks introduced into the rocket assembly process.

Russian rockets are manufactured in Russia but the final assembly takes place at the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome.

It was the fourth time a Soyuz called upon ballistic reentry to avoid disaster, and the first major issue with a manned Soyuz mission since 1983.

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. They have been driven to do this because, at present, the Soyuz spacecraft is the only means by which NASA, Russia, and their global partners have of getting people to and from the station.

"In order to avoid shifting the ISS to an unmanned mode, the industry is exerting considerable efforts to make the launch possible on December 3", Sergei Krikalyov, the executive director of the manned spaceflight program at Russia's Roskosmos space agency, said on October 31. Russian Federation stands to lose that monopoly with the arrival of SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's Starliner crew capsules.