Dramatic video released by the Russian commission investigating last month’s failure of a Soyuz during launch from Baikonur shows one of the boosters colliding with the rocket as its separation sequence misfired.
The aborted 11 October Soyuz MS-10 mission was due to transfer NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin to the International Space Station. Following the abort, the crew escape system operated successfully, sending Hague and Ovchinin on a ballistic return.
Russia’s Roscosmos space agency reports that the conclusion of its emergency commission is that the accident was caused by the “abnormal separation” of the “D” booster, which struck the central block of the rocket and caused the tank fuel to depressurise. This caused the rocket to become destabilised, triggering the automatic abort system.
The agency reports that the abnormal separation was caused by the failure of the booster D nozzle cover-lid to open in the oxidiser due to the deformation of the separation contact sensor. This fault apparently occurred during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome.