Russian Federation blames rocket failure on mistake during assembly

Russian Federation blames rocket failure on mistake during assembly

The next manned mission to the International Space Station may launch on December 3, state news agency TASS cited Russian space agency Roscosmos as saying on Wednesday.

Russia, the only country able to ferry astronauts to the orbiting science lab, suspended all launches after a rocket failed on October 11 just minutes after blast-off -the first such incident in the history of post-Soviet space travel.

The executive director of the Russian space agency said today its investigation found the failure was caused by a malfunctioning sensor.

"The industry is making significant efforts to move the launch to December 3 so that the station does not switch to autopilot mode", he said.

Aboard the next manned spacecraft will be Canadian David Saint-Jacques, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Agence France-Presse reported.

After about 114 seconds of flight, the emergency escape system sprang into action, separating the crew capsule from the rocket, which then entered "ballistic descent" before parachuting to earth.

The three crewmembers now on the station will return to Earth Dec. 20, a week later than originally scheduled, Roscosmos officials said.

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They had initially been scheduled to land on December 13 after their stint on the ISS, a joint project of the space agencies of America, Europe, Russia, Japan and Canada.

The satellite launch had originally been planned for October 19 but was postponed after the accident.

About 90 seconds into the rocket's flight, the USA space agency Nasa reported a problem with the booster rocket between the first and second stages of separating.

Roscosmos has scheduled a press conference for November 1 to further detail the outcome of its investigation.

Krikalyov blamed a "malfunction" of the sensor separating the first and second stages of the rocket for the problem and said that efforts were being taken to ensure the safety of future flights.

The Soyuz rocket launched at 08:40 local time (02:40 GMT) from the Baikanour cosmodrome site on 11 October when the malfunction occurred.

Igor Skorobogatov, who headed the inquiry, said on Thursday that the issue was linked to the "deformation" of a sensor part.

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