Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Russia Flies First Soyuz Since Aug. 24 Failure

A Russian Soyuz rocket launched a navigation satellite into orbit today, marking a first flight since a similar Soyuz launch vehicle was lost Aug. 24 after a third-stage engine failure.

The Russian Federal Space Agency said the Soyuz-2.1B carrier rocket with the Glonass-M navigation satellite was launched on from the Plesetsk Space Center in northern Russia. An update posted at the Roscosmos Facebook page.

A Russian television station also carried a Launch Report.

Worth noting, however, is that the Soyuz-2.1B rocket was equipped with a different type of upper stage engine than the on that failed Aug. 24. A Fregat upper stage placed the navigation satellite in its operational orbit. The Soyuz U that failed in August employed a RD-0110 third stage engine, according to a report from Stephen Clark at Spaceflight Now.

Roscosmos engineers say the Aug. 24 failure was caused by a clog in third stage propellant lines.

The next Soyuz U is scheduled to launch at 6 a.m. Oct. 30 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, hauling a Progress cargo carrier to the International Space Station.

A Soyuz FG rocket carrying the next ISS crew is scheduled to launch Nov. 14.

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