Russia blames 'chance' defect for space crash

Sep 09, 2011

Russia on Friday blamed a one-off production fault in a rocket engine for the crash of an unmanned spaceship last month but nevertheless ordered checks of all similar rocket motors.

The said in a statement that the motor of the third-stage rocket blasting the craft into orbit failed because a blocked duct cut fuel supply to its gas generator.

The Progress spaceship, an unmanned cargo vessel carrying supplies for the (ISS), crashed into Siberia last month instead of reaching orbit.

The engine defect in the Soyuz-U rocket led to a "lowering of the performance of the engine and its emergency shutdown," Roskosmos said, reporting the findings of a commission of experts.

"The commission came to the conclusion that the identified production defect was by chance, but a decision can only be taken that it was a one-off after repeat checks ... of all the stock of engines, " it said.

Russia earlier responded to the crash by grounding all Soyuz rockets, the backbone of the national space programme, which are also used to send manned capsules to the ISS.

Roskosmos did not specify when the next Soyuz launches could be, saying it first needed to draw up a schedule for checks and fine-tuning.

Russia said late last month that a launch taking astronauts to the ISS initially scheduled for September 22 would be postponed at least until late October.

The failed Progress launch was a humiliating blow for Russia, which is now the sole nation capable of taking humans to the ISS after the July withdrawal of the US space shuttle.

Explore further: Local model better describes lunar gravity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Russia 'grounds Soyuz rockets' after space crash

Aug 25, 2011

Russia on Thursday grounded its Soyuz rockets after a space ship carrying tonnes of cargo for the International Space Station (ISS) crashed into Siberia shortly after blast-off, officials said.

Russia delays next manned space flight

Aug 29, 2011

Russia on Monday delayed its next manned mission to the International Space Station (ISS) by at least a month after an unmanned cargo vessel crashed into Siberia instead of reaching orbit.

Russia's Soyuz: historic symbol of space reliability

Aug 25, 2011

Russia's Soyuz rocket, which failed to put a Russian supply ship into orbit, is descended from launch vehicles of the early days of the space race but until now has been a byword for reliability.

NASA fears leaving space station unmanned (Update)

Aug 30, 2011

The possible first-ever evacuation of the International Space Station, if a Russian spacecraft is not launched in November, would risk the loss of the orbiting lab, a NASA official has warned.

Recommended for you

Local model better describes lunar gravity

3 minutes ago

Two satellites orbiting the Moon as a part of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission have been mapping its inner structure by measuring subtle shifts in the pull of gravity on the ...

EUV calibrations for satellite sensors

20 hours ago

Thanks to precision calibration measurements recently performed at NIST, satellites may soon be looking at sunlight with new and improved vision.

Image: 25 years ago, Voyager 2 captured images of Neptune

20 hours ago

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft gave humanity its first glimpse of Neptune and its moon Triton in the summer of 1989. This picture of Neptune was produced from the last whole planet images taken through the green ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Temple
5 / 5 (1) Sep 09, 2011
This is not a "one off".

You expect chance errors in manufacturing! This is a symptom of a complete failure in quality control over that particular component.

That leaves everybody to speculate on the quality control of all the rest of the components. If "chance" manufacturing defects are not expected to be caught, then, over the vast number of critical components, you're going to greatly increase your overall failure rate.
Humpty
not rated yet Sep 09, 2011
Yes... a chance defect.. in a rocket engine?

If they had of fitted it with air brakes, they could have parked it in a really low earth orbit and called in some service technicians, replaced it and then they could have got going again.

The fault lies in the false belief that not fitting air brakes to rockets, makes them easier to get into orbit vs the trade off in recovery should the spark plugs oil up etc.-
rwinners
not rated yet Sep 11, 2011
Hmm.. how many people has Russia lost in space related accidents vs the US?
I wouldn't call this event humiliating. I would call it a cause for concern.