Soyuz launch failure due to 'deformation' during assembly

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Roscosmos said on Wednesday it hoped to launch its first manned mission since the accident on December 3.

"We have a number of Russian Soyuz rocket launches in the next month and a half and in December, we're fully anticipating putting our crew on a Russian Soyuz rocket to launch to the International Space Station again", NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said last week.

After the successful emergency landing both the Russian and U.S. space agencies praised the Soviet-designed rocket, with Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine saying last month that United States astronauts will continue using the Soyuz and praising its "resilience". That would also mean that the current crew will have to stay there for at least an extra week or two to ensure a smooth carry-over.

The failure occurred about 2 minutes after liftoff from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, when one of the Soyuz's four strap-on boosters (the one known as Block D) failed to separate properly and instead slammed into the rocket's core stage.

Live video of the astronauts inside showed them shaking violently with vibrations caused by the malfunction. But after the launch of the emergency shut down engines of the second stage. The two-man crew managed to make it back to Earth safely, but their planned journey to the International Space Station was obviously cut very short.

The Canadian Space Agency said it is still awaiting confirmation of details regarding Saint-Jacques' mission.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos immediately launched an investigation into the rocket failure.

Although the official report on the cause of a Soyuz rocket failure won't be released until Thursday, a Russian official disclosed its central conclusion a day early, the country's news agency TASS reports.

"The cause of a non-standard separation" was a "deformation" of a part during assembly, Skorobogatov told a news conference at Russia's mission control outside Moscow.

Following the investigation, "appropriate law enforcement authorities" will work out who is guilty of the assembly mistake, Lopatin said.

Russian Federation is the only country now able to send crew to the ISS, after Nasa's Space Shuttle programme ended in 2011. It's relied upon by NASA, Europe, Russia, and other partners.

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