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Russia puts off military satellite launch over Soyuz booster incident

October 13, 14:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The source in the space industry said that a Lotos-S radar reconnaissance satellite was earlier scheduled to be launched into orbit from the Plesetsk spaceport on October 19

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The Plesetsk spaceport

The Plesetsk spaceport

© Mikhail Dzhaparidze/TASS

MOSCOW, October 13. /TASS/. The next launch of a Lotos-S radar reconnaissance satellite aboard a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket from the Plesetsk spaceport in north Russia has been postponed over the incident with the Soyuz booster at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on October 11, a source in the space industry told TASS on Saturday.

"Due to the incident at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the nearest launch of the Soyuz-2.1b rocket with the military satellite from the Plesetsk spaceport scheduled for October 19 has been put off indefinitely," the source said.

The Soyuz-2.1b and the Soyuz-FG boosters have a similar design of side units of the first stage, the source said.

"Considering that problems with one of these blocks were the cause of the Soyuz-FG incident, as preliminary data suggest, the launches of all Soyuz-2 rockets have been suspended," the source said.

Another source in the space industry said that a Lotos-S radar reconnaissance satellite was earlier scheduled to be launched into orbit from the Plesetsk spaceport on October 19.

Soyuz launch incident

A Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with a manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft blasted off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome to the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, at 11:40 a.m. Moscow time. On board the spacecraft were Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin (the commander of the Soyuz MS-10) and NASA astronaut Nick Hague.

Following a smooth liftoff, the Soyuz’s booster malfunctioned between the first and second stages of separating, whereupon the crew was forced to abort the flight and switch to ballistic descent. The manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft ended up landing in the Kazakh steppe.

The press office of Russia’s Central Military District reported that rescuers recovered the crew from the descent capsule. Later, the crewmembers were examined and found to be in good condition. After their medical check-up in the town of Baikonur, the astronauts were transported to Moscow.

This is the first emergency landing with this type of carrier rocket over the past 35 years.

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