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Russia’s space agency launches probe into faulty Soyuz booster at initial manufacturer

A commission set up to probe last week’s aborted launch of the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket has begun its inspection of the Samara-based Progress Space Rocket Center

MOSCOW, October 15. /TASS/. A commission set up to probe last week’s aborted launch of the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome has begun its inspection of the Samara-based Progress Space Rocket Center, the booster’s developer and manufacturer, said Roscosmos, Russia’s State Space Corporation, on Monday.

A TASS source earlier reported that the commission had started inspecting the Progress enterprise.

"The state commission for investigating the emergency situation that arose during the launch of the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with the manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft on October 11, 2018 has started its work at the Progress Space Rocket Center," the Roscosmos press office said.

"The enterprise’s specialists are taking part in the commission’s work. Together with specialists from the space rocket industry, they are checking the stages of the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket production," the agency’s press bureau stated.

All deductions and observations revealed during the inspection will be analyzed and subsequently taken into account when preparing the next Soyuz-FG rockets for their launch," the press department reported.

A Soyuz-FG carrier rocket produced in Samara blasted off with a manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft 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.

Despite its 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 had 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.