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Launch of the Soyuz-FG rocket carrying the MS-10 spacecraft
|Mission duration||36 minutes|
|Orbits completed||Failed to orbit|
|Spacecraft type||Soyuz-MS 11F747|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||11 October 2018|
|Launch site||Baikonur Pad 1/5|
|End of mission|
|Landing date||11 October 2018|
|Landing site||20 km east of Jezkazgan, Kazakhstan|
Soyuz MS-10 was a manned Soyuz MS spaceflight which aborted shortly after launch on 11 October 2018 due to a failure of the Soyuz-FG booster rocket. MS-10 was the 139th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft. It was intended to transport two members of the Expedition 57 crew to the International Space Station. A few minutes after liftoff, the craft went into contingency abort due to a booster failure and had to return to Earth. By the time the contingency abort was declared, the launch escape system (LES) had been ejected and the capsule was pulled away from the rocket using the back-up motors on the capsule fairing. Both crew members, Roscosmos cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague, were recovered alive in good health. The MS-10 flight abort was the first instance of a Russian manned booster accident at high altitude in 43 years, since Soyuz 18a similarly failed to make orbit in April 1975.
|Commander|| Aleksey Ovchinin, RSA|
|Flight Engineer 1|| Nick Hague, NASA|
|Commander||Oleg Kononenko, RSA|
|Flight Engineer 1||David Saint-Jacques, CSA|
Launch and abort
A few minutes after liftoff, which took place at 08:40 UTC, the crew reported feeling weightless, and mission control declared a booster had failed. According to Sergei Krikalyov of Roscosmos, the primary cause of the failure was a collision that occurred during the separation of the carrier rocket’s first and second stages. "A deviation from the standard trajectory occurred and apparently the lower part of the second stage disintegrated," he said. Shortly after, a contingency was declared and the spacecraft carrying the crew performed an emergency separation, returning to Earth in a ballistic trajectory, during which the crew experienced "about six to seven times Earth's gravity" followed by a successful landing. The abort occurred at a velocity of roughly 1,800 m/s (6,500 km/h; 5,900 ft/s; 4,000 mph) and an altitude of approximately 50 kilometres (31 miles).
At 08:55 UTC the search and rescue team was deployed to recover the crew and the spacecraft which had landed 402 kilometres (250 mi) from the launch site and 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Jezkazgan, Kazakhstan. Approximately 25 minutes after the search and rescue team took off, NASA announced they were in contact with Ovchinin and Hague. NASA TV broadcast photographs of the crew undergoing medical tests and apparently healthy at Jezkazgan Airport at 12:04 UTC. The crew flew to the Baikonur Cosmodrome to meet their families before leaving for Moscow.
Following the aborted spaceflight, the Russian government announced that all future manned Soyuz launches would be suspended. Roscosmos ordered a full state commission to investigate the incident, and the BBC reported that a criminal investigation is also expected.
A few weeks prior to the failed launch, another investigation had commenced into how a hole came to be drilled into the wall of the Soyuz MS-09 capsule that is now docked at the International Space Station.
After collecting the debris of the rocket, the commission has started the investigation 15 October 2018. Initially faulty cable connecting 1st stage booster was suspected, by 17th October 2018 the commission has concentrated on the manufacture sequence of the Soyuz rocket, and set the investigation deadline to 21st October 2018. By 18 October 2018, the failure to correctly mate 1st stage booster with 1st stage core was identified as likely culprit of the flight abort. The side booster was likely damaged and re-contacted the core during stage separation..
Other effects of incident
The current crew of the International Space Station has been informed of the failed flight (according to NASA live voice-over). The ISS crew can return safely in the Soyuz MS-09 capsule, but only until about late-December 2018, due to the limited lifespan of "about 200 days" of the Soyuz capsule; under existing plans, they would have to leave by mid-December. If the investigation concludes with the grounding of the Soyuz, the ISS may be abandoned until the Commercial Crew Program receives proper certification; this may result in the lack of maintenance of the ISS, but "ground controllers could keep it up and running for a while". Within a day of the incident Dimitry Rogozin, chief of Roscosmos, said that their plan is for Ovchinin and Hague to fly again in early 2019.
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- Bridenstine, Jim [@JimBridenstine] (11 October 2018). "@NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are in good condition following today's aborted launch. I'm grateful that everyone is safe. A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted. Full statement below: …" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV NASA TV, 11 October 2018.
- Expedition 57 Crew Returns to Baikonur (NHQ201810110007) NASA at Flickr, 11 October 2018.
- @Ruptly (11 October 2018). "*EXCLUSIVE* #SoyuzMS10 crew departs Baikonur for Moscow" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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- Sample, Ian (11 October 2018). "Rocket launches to be grounded while mid-air failure is investigated". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
- Роскосмос. Госкомиссия приступила к работе на РКЦ «Прогресс» 15.10.2018 10:15
- «Роскосмос» назвал дату готовности доклада об аварии «Союза»
- Эксперты назвали виновных в крушении "Союза МС-10"
- Wall, Mike (11 October 2018). "Empty Space Station? NASA Prepares for the Worst (but Hopes for the Best) After Soyuz Abort". Space.com.
- Foust, Jeff (11 October 2018). "NASA to look at options to keep crew on ISS while Soyuz grounded". SpaceNews.
- RT (12 October 2018). "Safe & sound: Soyuz crew returns to Moscow after rocket malfunction" – via YouTube.