Soyuz demonstrates finesse in flight and failure

James Marshall
October 13, 2018

It's obviously worth noting that the Soyuz rocket is a completely separate piece of hardware from the Soyuz crew capsule, and something like the hole found in the crew capsule now attached to the International Space Station couldn't possibly result in a failure of a rocket booster.

United States astronaut Nick Hague, right, and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, crew members of the mission to the International Space Station wave as they board the rocket prior to the launch.

USA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin parachuted to the ground safely in their capsule after a booster on the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft failed, NASA and Russia's space agency said. In response, Russian officials have suspended all crewed launches pending a review of the booster rocket failure.

Since Soyuz is now the single crew-capable capsule, no astronaut will be heading to the ISS for a while, meaning the crew now on the station has no way of returning back to Earth. Dzhezkazgan is about 450 kilometres northeast of Baikonur. You know the complexity of returning a capsule [with the crew] which should be jettisoned from the engine and land with the use of a parachute.

Just over two minutes into the flight of the latest Soyuz rocket, delivering crew members to the International Space Station, the booster suffered some kind of in-flight accident, as debris was spotted in the rocket's wake during live coverage of the launch. "A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted alongside an official statement on the Soyuz MS-10 Launch Abort.

Additionally, the Soyuz rocket launches cargo ships to the space station along with crewed missions like the one this morning. But it was not the first time that a manned Soyuz rocket has been forced to activate its launch abort system.

There are now three crew members aboard the ISS: NASA astronaut Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor, the European Space Agency's Alexander Gerst, and cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev.

This failure raises serious questions about the future of the International Space Station, as since the space shuttle's retirement in 2011 the Soyuz spacecraft and rocket were the only means by which crews have had to reach it. This incident will likely delay the scheduled mission of Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques, who was set to fly to the space station in December. And when we learned that the crew was safe and descending it was a moment to behold.

In August, the space station crew found a hole had been drilled in the Soyuz capsule that caused a brief loss of air pressure before being patched. -Russian cooperation in space.

There was no immediate word on whether Mr Gertz and the current space station crew might need to extend their own six-month missions. Roscosmos chief, Dmitry Rogozin, didn't make things much easier after stating that the tiny hole may have been an act of deliberate sabotage.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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