Russian Soyuz 2.1V Fails to Separate Payload

Credit: TASS

Credit: TASS

Russia’s Soyuz-U booster, the version which launches crew to ISS may be one of the most reliable rockets in the world, but the other versions bearing the Soyuz name continue to suffer a series of mishaps. On Saturday, Russian conducted the second test launch of a Soyuz 2.1V rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome just under the Arctic circle. The 2.1v is a slimmed down version of the familiar, tapered Soyuz booster, foregoing the four strap-on liquid fuel first stages in favor of a single core powered by an NK-33 engine similar to the model which doomed the Orbital ATK Antares vehicle in 2014.

In this case however, the first stage engine, which will eventually be replaced by new production RD-193 engines when the current supply runs out, appeared to perform without incident. In fact, the flight, which carried two small satellites for the Russian Defense Ministry was initially deemed a success, but it turned out to be a short lived one.

According to reports in the Russian news agency TASS, one of the two spacecraft, Kanopus-ST, failed to separate successfully from the Volga upper stage when one of four locks securing the satellite malfunctioned. Both have now re-entered the atmosphere over the South Atlantic ocean.

The most recent incident is the latest in a string of misfires for Russia, which has seen repeated failures of both the heavy lift Proton booster including three in the last two years, as well as difficulties with a different version of the Soyuz, the 2.1A, which failed to deliver the Progress M-27M cargo craft to ISS in April.


Posted in: Russian Space

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