Next Russia's mission to space station may launch on Dec. 3

Cristina Cross
November 3, 2018

Russian Federation on Wednesday said the first manned launch to the International Space Station since a failed blast-off this month will take place on December 3. When asked if there will be a delay on the launch, he said: "We don't have any confirmation as of yet".

The company that produces the Soyuz rockets said, following the incident, that it will conduct a re-testing of its employees and increase the number of cameras monitoring the production process.

The rocket failed two minutes into the flight, sending NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Alexei Ovchinin of Roscosmos plummeting 50 kilometres to earth. As a result, one of the side-mounted rocket boosters did not separate properly from the vehicle and collided with the rocket.

The accident was the first serious launch problem experienced by a manned Soyuz space mission since 1983, when a crew narrowly escaped before a launchpad explosion.

Live video of the astronauts inside showed them shaking violently with vibrations caused by the malfunction. The agency explained that it seemed as though two of the rocket's stages had impacted each other during separation. The two-man crew managed to make it back to Earth safely, but their planned journey to the International Space Station was obviously cut very short.

After investigating the incident, Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, determined that one of the rocket's boosters failed and remained stuck to the main rocket body instead of peeling off.

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"The cause of a non-standard separation" was a "deformation" of a part during assembly, Skorobogatov told a news conference at Russia's mission control outside Moscow.

Russia's space agency said on Wednesday that an investigation has found that a rocket carrying a crew to the International Space Station failed three weeks ago because of a technical malfunction of a sensor.

Roscosmos has said a faulty sensor caused the failure and believes Soyuz rockets will resume launching in December (when the current three-person space station crew must return to Earth).

Alexander Lopatin, the deputy head of Roscosmos, said that "appropriate law enforcement authorities" will now look into who was responsible for the assembly error.

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

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