Engine Failure Blamed for Soyuz Malfunction
Published: September 14, 2011 (Issue # 1674)
MOSCOW — The crash of an unmanned supply ship bound for the International Space Station last month was caused by a manufacturing flaw, the Federal Space Agency said.
The flaw led to the failure of a gas generator of the Soyuz rocket’s third-stage engine minutes after launch, the agency said late last week. A government panel investigating the Aug. 24 crash concluded that the manufacturing flaw was “accidental.”
The space agency added that all similar rocket engines would be checked and further Soyuz launches would proceed depending on the engines’ condition. It gave no specific schedule.
With NASA’s space shuttles retired as of July, Soyuz is the only means of getting astronauts to and from the space station.
NASA said the space station would need to be abandoned temporarily if a new crew cannot be launched before the last of the station’s six residents fly back to Earth in mid-November.