Soyuz crash flaw an 'isolated incident', Russia says

Summary:The Russian Space Agency has described the flaw that brought down a Soyuz-powered spacecraft as an "isolated" problem and resumed its plans to use the rocket.In August, the upper part of a Soyuz-U booster carrying a Russian Progress ship malfunctioned, shutting down and sending the 2.

The Russian Space Agency has described the flaw that brought down a Soyuz-powered spacecraft as an "isolated" problem and resumed its plans to use the rocket.

In August, the upper part of a Soyuz-U booster carrying a Russian Progress ship malfunctioned, shutting down and sending the 2.9 tons of craft and supplies for the International Space Station crashing down to Earth.

On Friday, the Roscosmos space agency's head Vladimir Popovkin told the Russian parliament its investigations had found no other instances of the flaw in 18 other Soyuz rockets from the same production batch, according to reports.

"We tested all the engines so we can say that the clogged pipe that brought down the Progress is an isolated incident," Popovkin said according to Reuters.

The Soyuz rockets are the only way to take crew and supplies to the International Space Station, after Nasa retired its Space Shuttle programme in July. After putting launches on hold during its probe, the Russian Space Agency now plans to send a cargo ship up on 30 October and to ferry crew on 14 November.

During his presentation to lawmakers, Popovkin also announced Roscosmos has put its development of a successor to Soyuz on hold, saying the agency has decided it does not need a new rocket. It had previously planned to build a new Rus-M carrier rocket by 2015.

Topics: Tech Industry

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Karen Friar is news editor for ZDNet in the UK, based in London. She has been in journalism since the last century, starting out in film journalism in San Francisco, before making the switch to tech coverage at ZDNet.com. Next came a move to CNET News.com, where she looked after west coast coverage of business technology, specialising in... Full Bio

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