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Crashed Progress space freighter manufactured with breach of design documentation — source

May 27, 2015, 13:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"Overall, more than 50 deviations from the design documentation were found during the manufacture of the rocket and space system, including the rocket itself and the space freighter," the source said
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MOSCOW, May 27. /TASS/. The commission investigating the crash of a Soyuz 2.1a carrier rocket and a Progress M-27M space freighter found more than 50 breaches of design documentation during their manufacture, a source in the rocket and space industry said on Wednesday.

"Overall, more than 50 deviations from the design documentation were found during the manufacture of the rocket and space system, including the rocket itself and the space freighter," the source said.

Each deviation is related to the absence of necessary materials or components and constant modernization of systems, units and parts of space rocketry, he said.

"Each unit of space rocketry is an individual rather than a serial product. There can be no two identical rockets. The design documentation may indicate one solder but it may turn out that its production has been stopped. Engineers have to find a replacement," the source said.

Also, any deviation from the design documentation has to be approved by the chief designer of rocketry and then all changes are approved by a special commission and endorsed by a decision of the state commission for the preparation of the rocketry for pre-launch work," he said.

"This does not mean that non-compliance with the design documentation may lead to an accident. This suggests uncoordinated cooperation and the existence of a large number of duplicating components," he said.

Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) declined to comment on this information.

The Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Progress space freighter blasted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on April 28. However, the carrier rocket failed to put the cargo ship into a designated orbit and Russia’s Mission Control lost communications with the space freighter that was intended to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

The Progress cargo ship burnt up in the dense layers of the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean in the morning of May 8.

Roscosmos later said the accident had been caused by the "off-nominal separation of the third stage of the Soyuz and Progress space vehicles" as a result of the fuel tanks’ depressurization.

The causes for the Progress space freighter accident are currently being investigated.

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