The most likely cause that led to the accident of the Soyuz-FG rocket was the unintentional damage to the 6-millimeter rod of the sensor for opening the nozzle of the D-block of the first stage. The members of the emergency commission came to this conclusion on Saturday, October 20, following a meeting at the Energia rocket and space corporation, told a RBC source familiar with the investigation, and a source at Roskosmos confirmed.
The damage occurred during the assembly of the rocket at the Baikonur cosmodrome, which led to the development of an emergency situation during the separation of stages, both of them say to RBC.
“The final report and the list of recommendations for tightening instrumental control will be presented to Roskosmos on October 30, after which, further launches of the Soyuz family of missiles are expected to be unlocked,” a RBC source familiar with the investigation said.
In response to a request from RBC to comment on this information, the press service of Roskosmos stated that the commission’s work was not yet completed, so there are no results yet.
“Additional investigative actions and measures are being taken. All information published in the media "according to sources" is speculation and rumors. The official results will be published at the end of the commission’s work, ”the state corporation said.
The first state of emergency since 1985
On October 11, the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle with the Soyuz MS-10 manned spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome. On board were the Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and the American astronaut Nick Haig, for whom this flight into space was the first. On the 119th second of the flight the carrier crashed. The crew evacuated on a rescue capsule and landed successfully in Kazakhstan. The accident was the first state of emergency in the Russian manned cosmonautics for 35 years.
The alleged cause of the accident "Roscosmos" called the collision of the elements of the first and second stages of the rocket.
After the accident, the TFR opened a criminal case on suspicion of violating the safety rules of construction work, which caused major damage.
According to RBC and RIA Novosti sources, the investigating authorities and the Roscosmos commission have already identified the perpetrators of the incident. Their names and positions are not yet named.
According to Andrei Ionin, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, the scheme with mounting of side blocks using a rod was invented in the times of Sergey Korolev.
“There are four side blocks. Each side block at the top has a fist-like mechanism that goes into a special spherical hole made in the central block, says Ionin. - There is a small stock sticking out in this fist. Below the side blocks are attached to the central metal rods, inside which there is a squib. And when the command for the separation occurs, these squib explodes and at the bottom the connection between the blocks is broken. After this, the side block begins to gradually move away from the central one. After reaching a certain angle of care, the fist is released and exits. At this moment the stock is involved. It looks like the fact that this rod bent during installation did not allow the mount to come out of the hole at the right moment. ”
In addition, at a meeting at RSC Energia on Saturday, it was confirmed the expediency of using the promising reusable Emergency Rescue System technology installed on the Soyuz-MS ships in a promising reusable transport-manned ship, RBC sources said. According to them, it is planned to begin flight tests of the new ship on the Soyuz-5 medium-class rocket in 2023.
“The decision on the Emergency Rescue System is fundamental. This, of course, was influenced by the events of October 11, ”a source told RBC in Roskosmos.
Earlier, RBC sources reported that the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, instructed to introduce additional instrumental monitoring and video recording of the work performed at the assembly stage of launch vehicles. The press service of the state corporation confirmed this information.