Soyuz rocket: 'Faulty sensor' led to launch failure

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Russian official says Soyuz rocket failure caused by an errant sensor

The malfunction caused one of the rocket's four side boosters to collide with the second stage of the rocket, Sergei Krikalyov said.

Russia's space agency suspended all manned space launches after an October 11 rocket failure forced a Soyuz capsule with two astronauts on board to make an emergency landing. The two men landed safely on the steppes of Kazakhstan despite the failed launch, the first of its kind for Russia's manned program in over three decades.

Presenting the findings of an official investigation into the accident, Igor Skorobogatov told reporters that two more Soyuz rockets may have the same defect and that additional checks were being introduced into the rocket assembly process.

Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, posted a video of the botched launch on Twitter on Thursday.

Russian officials believe that the defective component was damaged during assembly.

Russian rockets are manufactured in Russia and then transported by rail to the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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Russian Federation suspended all launches after the accident on October 11, unprecedented for Russia's post-Soviet manned launches, that saw the rocket fail minutes after blast-off. Skorobogatov said the Soyuz's central block was hit "in the fuel tank area, causing a depressurization and, as a result, a loss of the space rocket's stabilization".

The Russian rocket that carried two people to space last month failed and sent the craft back to Earth because of "deformation" of a part that was made during assembly at the cosmodrome, a space official said on November 1.

Also Thursday, the Kremlin confirmed that Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin has kept the president up to date on the situation surrounding the Soyuz-FG incident, and will do so again during his next working meeting with Vladimir Putin. The Soyuz rocket-spaceship duo has been astronauts' only ride to and from the orbiting lab since NASA grounded its space shuttle fleet in 2011.

Accordingly, Roscosmos (the state-backed corporation managing Russian space missions) said it had taken steps to prevent a repeat and was returning to crewed missions relatively quickly.

Russian rockets have experienced an array of glitches in recent years, but the latest mishap was the first to be experienced by a manned Soyuz capsule since 1983, when a crew narrowly escaped before a launchpad explosion.

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