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Russia to replace carrier rocket engines after Progress cargo spacecraft crash

January 17, 14:59 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Progress MS-04 cargo spacecraft launched on December 1 with the help of a Soyuz-U carrier rocket was lost during the 382nd second of flight at an altitude of 190 km over south Siberia

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© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. Third-stage engines of the Soyuz-FG and Soyuz-U carrier rockets intended to launch a Soyuz MS-04 manned spacecraft and a Progress MS-05 space freighter will be replaced after the December accident with a Progress MS-04 cargo spaceship, Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos told TASS on Tuesday.

"The unit of the Soyuz-U carrier rocket’s third stage planned for the launch of a Progress MS-05 transport cargo spaceship has been delivered to the Progress Rocket and Space Center for a check. The carrier rocket for the Soyuz MS-04 manned spacecraft is also in the Progress Rocket and Space Center. Works are under way on both carrier rockets to replace 11D55 third-stage engines [RD-0110 produced by the Voronezh Mechanical Factory] with similar engines of a different series," the Roscosmos press office said.

According to the approved plan, the launch of a Progress MS-05 space freighter is scheduled for February 21 and the launch of a Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft for March 27.

The Progress MS-04 cargo spacecraft launched from the Baikonur spaceport on December 1 with the help of a Soyuz-U carrier rocket was lost during the 382nd second of flight at an altitude of 190 km over the Republic of Tyva in south Siberia. Most of its fragments burned up in the dense layers of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The space freighter was expected to deliver about 2.5 tonnes of various cargoes to the International Space Station (ISS), fuel for the ISS, water and the air for cosmonauts, and also New Year’s gifts for the crew. The spacecraft’s cargo compartment accommodated scientific equipment and spare parts, containers with foodstuffs, clothes, medicines and personal hygiene items.

The Roscosmos panel of inquiry arrived at the conclusion that the oxidizer tank of the third-stage engine was ripped open with an impact of fragments that emerged with the destruction of engine 11D55 as a result of combustion and further destruction of the oxidizer pump. The oxidizer pump might have caught fire for various reasons, such as the likely presence of outside particles in the pump or violation of the engine 11D55’s assembly procedures.

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