October 7, 2011
No Flaws In Soyuz Rockets
Russian Space Agency head Vladimir Popovkin said on Friday that inspectors have found no flaws in their Soyuz rockets, reports the Associated Press.
Soyuz had been postponed pending the outcome of a probe influenced by a rocket crashing in August.The Soyuz was just the latest of many launch failures the Russian space agency has endured in the past year, including a military satellite lost in February and three navigation satellites launched in December.
Popovkin said a check of 18 rocket engines from the same batch of rockets found no faults so far.
"That allows us to say that it (the manufacturing flaw in the failed rocket) was a singular occasion," he said in a statement.
Since NASA has retired the space shuttles, the Soyuz is the only vehicle to get astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
Russia suspended launching its Soyuz until the probe had finished, and Popovkin said a cargo ship will be launched on October 30 and a manned mission will follow on November 14.
NASA has said that the space station will need to be abandoned temporarily if a new crew cannot be launched before the last of the station's six residents fly back to Earth in November.
Popovkin said the space agency will establish its own quality inspection teams at rocket factories to tighten oversight over production quality.
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