MOSCOW – The executive director of the Russian space agency announced on Friday that a collision between stages of the Soyuz MS-10 was the main cause of the recent abortive launch of the Soyuz booster.
American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin were forced to perform an emergency landing and return to Earth on Thursday shortly after launching from the leased Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan after the capsule’s booster rockets suffered a failure.
“There are no final versions, but the primary cause is understandable and is related to the collision of a side element making part of the first stage. A collision occurred during the separation of the first and second stages,” Roscosmos’ executive director, Sergei Krikalyov, explained, as cited by TASS news agency.
“A deviation from the standard trajectory occurred and apparently, the lower part of the second stage disintegrated. The rocket stopped its normal flight and after that, the automatic system did its work,” he added.
Preliminary results of the government’s investigation are expected to be released later this month.
“The panel of inquiry got down to work yesterday. The results are expected after Oct. 20. The first components found in Kazakhstan’s steppe will help find out what happened. The necessary measures will be taken afterwards and flights will be continued,” Krikalyov said.
Krikalyov pointed out that all launches of Soyuz-FG or of similar rockets had been suspended, pending the results of Thursday’s failure.