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Roscosmos aide says 3 rate sensors on mishap rocket were installed heels over head

July 18, 2013, 14:14 UTC+3
The cause was an industrial process violation, the human factor
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MOSCOW, July 18 (Itar-Tass) - Through an assembly fault made at the plant of the Khrunichev Aerospace Corporation, three of the six angular rate sensors were installed heels over head on the Proton-M carrier rocket that collapsed on the ground at the Baikonur Space Center July 2 just a few seconds after liftoff, a high-rank spokesman for the Russian Space Agency /Roscosmos/ said Thursday.

“The Khrunichev enterprise installed three of the six angular rate sensors incorrectly,” said Alexander Lopatin, a deputy director of the Russian Space Agency /Roscosmos/.

“The cause was an industrial process violation, the human factor,” he said.

“An assembly worker installs the sensors, then seals them, then reports to the production shop foreman, and then the quality inspector issues his approval, and everyone put their signatures on the documents,” Lopatin said. “The assembly process is a highly complicated one and it requires triple control.”

“However, three sensors were installed heels over head in the final run,” he said.

As for the sensors as such, they were in a proper order, Lopatin said.

“All the six gauges passed the trial testing and were approved for installation aboard the carrier rocket,” he said.

The angular rate sensors are manufactured by an affiliation of the Nikolai Pilyugin Center of Automation and Instrument Engineering located in the city of Saratov, the Middle Volga area.

“What’s been established for sure is that it was simply impossible to mix anything up inside the sensors,” Lopatin said adding that the investigative commission did not find any irregularity in the assembly of cables either.

He also said the commission members believe the launches of Proton-M carrier rockets might resume in September.

“Hopefully, we’ll continue working with the Protons in September so as to meet the annual targets /for the launches - Itar-Tass/,” Lopatin said.

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