The Russian space corporation Roscosmos has identified the issue that caused its Soyuz rocket carrying astronauts to have a ballistic descent in October.
Roscosmos Reports On Soyuz Rocket Mishap
On Wednesday, Oct. 31, Sergei Krikalev spoke to the press to discuss the incident with the public. After several days of investigations, they concluded that the sensor onboard the rocket failed to signal the separation during the first and second stages. This caused one of the side boosters to knock off with the rocket.
As a result, the Soyuz automatically aborted the mission and pushed the astronauts onboard away from the rocket, sending them back on a ballistic descent to Earth.
Astronauts Nick Hague and Aleksey Ovchinin lifted off from Baikonur on the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle with the Soyuz MS-10 space capsule on Oct. 11. Neither men were hurt by the incident.
NASA has been relying on the Soyuz program to send its astronauts to the International Space Station. Three crewmembers remain onboard the orbiting outpost: American Serena Auñón-Chancellor, German Alexander Gerst, and Russian Sergey Prokopyev. They are scheduled to head back to Earth onboard a Soyuz capsule in December.
NASA Relationship With Roscosmos Remain Intact
Despite the incident, NASA has repeatedly expressed confidence in Roscosmos and the Soyuz program. Shortly after the rocket failure in October, chief administrator Jim Bridenstine told the public that the space agency will continue to rely on the Soyuz rocket to launch astronauts to space.
"I fully anticipate that we will fly again on a Soyuz rocket and I have no reason to believe at this point that it will not be on schedule," he told the press.
The next manned launched has been scheduled to Dec. 3, carrying Russian Oleg Kononenko, American Anne McClain, and Canadian David Saint-Jacques. Krikalev has assured that further actions are being carried out in order to ensure the safety of upcoming manned launches.
The Soviet-designed Soyuz rocket is currently the only vehicle that can send astronauts to the ISS. NASA will have to rely on the Russians until the commercial crew vehicles in development by SpaceX and Boeing are ready for flight.