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NASA signs off as Russia moves up its next launch after October racket failure | U.S. and world news

The Russians move firmly. After one of their rockets malfunctioned last month, triggering an automatic abortion, Roscosmos, the county's space…

The Russians move firmly. After one of their rockets malfunctioned last month, triggering an automatic abortion, Roscosmos, the county’s space agency, says it knows what happened and how to fix it. Instead of delaying the next flight with astronauts – originally scheduled for Dec. 20 – it is moving up the launch to Dec. 3.

Confident in its Russian counterpart, NASA has signed off on this. And Anne McClain, the American astronaut up next in the flight rotation, says she’s ready to strap in and go. “I would have gotten on the Soyuz the next day,” she told reporters Friday.

On Oct. 1

1, a Russian Soyuz rocket suffered a failure less than three minutes into flight when one of the side boosters failed to separate properly and slammed into the rocket.

Roscosmos has said that the mishap was caused by a deformed sensor damaged during The rocket’s assembly that caused the booster separation problem.

In an interview Friday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Roscosmos has been “very transparent.” De har deltaget med oss ​​alle de data vi trenger for å være komfortabel og sikker på at vi forstår problemet, og at det har blitt løst. “

Han sa at flyet var flyttet for at” få vores besætning deroppe så snart som possible “since the last mission failed. Scott Kelly, the former NASA astronaut who spent almost a year in space, said that made sense given that two of three crew members on the next flight were “rookies” who had never been to space. Getting to the station early would “give the crew time to do an effective handover,” he said. “I could see why they’d want to move that flight earlier if they could safely do that.”

Though harrowing, the Last mission was viewed within NASA as a “very successful failed launch,” as Bridenstine said, because the crews returned to Earth safely. After the booster collided with the rocket, the spacecraft was immediately jettisoned away from the rocket carrying the astronauts – one Russian, one American – on a wild ride near the edge of space.

During the escape, the pair were slammed back into their seats, they experienced 7 Gs, or seven times the force of gravity. NASA astronaut Nick Hague recently told reporters the first thing he noticed “was being shaken violently from side to side. The alarm sounded, a light flashed and “once I saw the light, I knew we had an emergency with the booster.”

Hague and his Russian counterpart, Alexey Ovchinin, were also found immediately by rescue teams, a much better outcome than a notorious launch abortion in 1975 when Soviet Union cosmonauts landed in a remote part of eastern Russia on the snowy slope of a mountain and almost tumbled off a cliff. (They were located a day later.) Maar even wanneer aborten gaan, zijn ze niet verondersteld te gebeuren in de eerste plaats.

It seems to be “A fairly straightforward assembly error they made as they put the rocket together,” said Wayne Hale, who served as NASA’s former space shuttle program manager.

The mishap follows the discovery of a small, drilled hole of mysterious origin in one section.

The hole is the subject of a separate investigation by Roscosmos. The Russians have floated the idea of ​​sabotage. The hole had been clumsily patched after it had been created, and when the patch failed a small leak of air from the station triggered alarms.

The two anomalies – the launch failure and The Soyuz hole – are almost surely unrelated, according to industry experts.

Bridenstine said the pair of problems “raises questions” but did not want to comment until the investigation is complete.

The incidents also serve as a reminder that the Soyuz is the only way people can get to the International Space Station. If the Soyuz were to be grounded for a prolonged period of time, NASA and its partners may have to abandon the station temporarily.

“I would not put the crew at risk to keep it crewed,” said Mike Suffredini, the president and CEO of Axiom Space, which is developing private space stations.

Similarly, a NASA safety advisory panel last month said that with the desire to stay on schedule “there is the potential for the workforce – striving to meet unrealistic dates and pressures to ‘get on with it’ – will subtly erode sound decision making as proposed launch dates approach. “

McClain said she had confidence that Roscosmos had Fixed the problem by asking “the three important questions: What happened? Why did it happen? And how do we ensure it does not happen again? Nobody was going to give a green light until those three questions were answered. “

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