Roscosmos to tighten control in space industry after freighter loss

The Russian space agency Roscosmos said on its website on Thursday it would set up a commission for quality control in the space industry after the loss of the Progress spacecraft.

The Progress M-12M space freighter carrying food and other items to the International Space Station fell in South Siberia’s Altai Republic on Wednesday evening after failing to separate from its Soyuz-U carrier rocket, the first loss of a Progress freighter in the history of Russia’s space industry.

Later on Wednesday, a special commission was set up for a comprehensive probe into the failed launch.

On Thursday, it was announced that the 11D55 (RD-0110) third stage rocket engine, made at the Voronezh Mechanical Plant in Central Russia, was to blame for the spacecraft loss.

“One of our first steps would be to tighten quality control at plants and organizations of the aerospace industry, including setting up a special unit in the [space] agency for this purpose, which is similar to those already operating within the Defense Ministry,” Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin said in a statement.

A permanent control group will carry out quality control at all stages of the production cycle at enterprises involved in Russia’s space program.

Another special working group will be charged with supervising Russia’s manned spaceflight programs.

“Members of the group will check all carrier rockets being prepared for future launches under the manned spaceflight program, as well as Progress space freighters and Soyuz TMA manned spacecraft,” the Russian space agency said.

At the moment, Roscosmos and NASA have launched additional discussions on the maintenance of the International Space Station and future launches of manned spacecraft and space freighters.

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