Soyuz rocket failure blamed on a bent sensor pin

Soyuz rocket failure blamed on a bent sensor pin

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.

Although the official report on the cause of a Soyuz rocket failure won't be released until Thursday, a Russian official disclosed its central conclusion a day early, the country's news agency TASS reports.

A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying two people failed in mid-flight on October 12.

The current ISS crew, the ESA's Alexander Gerst, NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor, and Roscosmos' Sergey Prokopyev, are expected to return to Earth around December 20, a week after their originally-scheduled December 13 descent.

The crew - Nick Hague, a NASA astronaut, and Alexey Ovchinin, a Russian cosmonaut - had their space capsule ejected from the rocket and survived without injury.

The findings of an official investigation into the incident were presented at a press conference on Thursday.

More news: Carabao Cup quarter-final draw: Arsenal to host Spurs

What happened during the flight?

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. This damage caused the rocket's built-in safety features to initiate an immediate abort before anyone even had a chance to think about it, and the two passengers soon found themselves flying back towards Earth in the crew capsule. When the planned separation occurs, two of the three visible portions of the previous stage fall off and away from the spacecraft as they should, but the one on the left side of the video hangs on for an extra moment, tumbling towards the rocket rather than away from it.

The two crew members were then recovered by emergency workers near the Kazakh city of Dzhezkazgan, 400km (250 miles) north-east of the rocket launch site.

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

Russian Federation is the only country now able to send crew to the ISS, after Nasa's Space Shuttle programme ended in 2011.

"The cause of a non-standard separation (of the rocket's second stage)" was a "deformation" of a part during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome, said Oleg Skorobogatov who headed the Russian commission probing the accident. However, the quick return to crewed flights is likely to prove a relief to the worldwide spaceflight community.

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