Friday, December 23, 2011

Another Soyuz Rocket Failure Signals Uncertainty

A new crew is preparing to board the International Space Station after a high-flying arrival today but it's unclear how a Soyuz rocket failure earlier today might impact future staffing at the outpost.

The Itar-Tass news agency published a report today that said the third stage of a Soyuz 2 rocket failed after launch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. A Meridian communications satellite was destroyed in the failure.

The third stage engine apparently was not an RD-0110 -- the same type used on Soyuz FG rockets that transport astronauts and cosmonauts to the International Space Station. An Aug. 24 failure of a RD-0110 engine on a Soyuz U rocket prompted delays in the latest crew rotation at the station.

Russian officials at a post-docking news conference acknowledged the failure and said an investigation is getting under way.
A NASA official at the news briefing had no specific comment on the failure.

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