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Russian Space Agency names cause of Jul 2 crash of carrier rocket at Baikonur

July 18, 2013, 13:10 UTC+3
Roskosmos official confirmed that the crash occurred because of a loss of stabilization of yawning due to the malfunctioning of angular rate sensors
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Photo ITAR-TASS

Photo ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, July 18 (Itar-Tass) - A Proton-M carrier rocket crashed July 2 during liftoff from the Baikonur Space Center due to malfunctioning of angular rate sensors - the gauges controlling the position of a rocket in space, Alexander Lopatin, the chairman of the investigative commission of the Russian Space Agency /Roskosmos/ told Itar-Tass.

“The abortive flight lasted only 32 seconds and the crash occurred because of a loss of stabilization of yawning due to the malfunctioning of angular rate sensors,” Lopatin said.

At the 13th second of the flight, the flight control system produced a command confirming that the limits of yawning angles had been broken and this triggered a ‘disaster’ command. “After that the destruction of the rocket in midair began.”

Lopatin said along with it that all the six angular rate sensors installed on the mishap rocket had passed the mandatory testing flawlessly and had been admitted for installation aboard.

He also said that all the other systems had been performing normally until the moment of the rocket’s collapse on the ground. Even a small fault in the launch command that was given 0.4 seconds earlier did not affect the performance of the engines.

Had it not been for the incorrect work of the sensors, the Proton-M would have delivered the GLONASS global positioning and communications satellites to the orbit, Lopatin said.

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