Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cause of Russian Progress Crash Determined

This recent Device article reports that A Russian investigatory commission has discovered that the crash. There was some worry that worry was that a design flaw might be the cause. The commission's findings point instead to something almost as bad. A manufacturing fault.

From the article:
  • (The crash was) caused by a clogged fuel line in the third stage engine of the Soyuz rocket. This particular fuel line was driving a turbo pump that pumps fuel into the main combustion chamber, so when the pump failed, the third stage shut down...
This is still a bit problematic. The question is, can we trust the manufacture and assembly infrastructure will be up to the task of finding just where the part failure crept in? The Russian space agency has promised to launch another resupply module and launch some of the backlog of satellites to prove that the Soyuz rockets are still safe before they send up another manned mission to the ISS. But having this all happen before the mid November cutoff deadline for keeping the ISS manned is going to be a tall order.

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