Russian space agency denies programming error bungled rocket launch

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A failed rocket launch from Russia’s new spaceport at Vostochny final month was not in reality brought on by an elementary programming error, as latest reviews have indicated — or not less than that’s what Roscosmos, the nation’s area company, has claimed, contradicting earlier statements made by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

The November 28 launch was a giant one for Russia, with a $45 million climate satellite tv for pc of its personal (Meteor-M No. 2-1) on board, in addition to 18 smaller satellites, together with U.S. ones, hitching a trip into orbit; SpaceNews lists them right here. It was the second launch from the newly constructed Vostochny launchpad, the final greater than a 12 months and a half earlier.

However though the launch appeared to proceed nominally, a couple of hours later Roscosmos issued a discover that it had not been in a position to contact Meteor-M “resulting from its absence within the goal orbit.” Later the higher stage of the rocket and its payloads have been confirmed to have fallen into the Atlantic.

After all, everybody needs to know what occurred — a whole lot of thousands and thousands of went up in smoke on this failed launch. Roscosmos’s Aleksandr Ivanov defined that the problem was “incorrect operation of software program algorithms together with unaccounted peculiarities of azimuths of the launch from the brand new Vostochny Cosmodrome.”

However then yesterday Rogozin supplied a stunning addendum in an interview aired on the state TV channel Rossiya 24: human error.

“The rocket was actually programmed as if it was taking off from Baikonur. They didn’t get the coordinates proper,” he mentioned, as translated by Reuters.

If true, that will be a significant embarrassment to the Russian area program — the concept such an apparent mistake (Baikonur is the nation’s main spaceport in Kazakhstan) couldn’t simply be made within the first place, but in addition fail to be detected and corrected. Maybe that’s why Roscosmos instantly and strenuously denied Rogozin’s account.

The unique assertion is in Russian, issued to RIA Novosti; RT interprets:

The flight process was examined solely for the Vostochny Cosmodrome, which was checked by specialists in accordance with current strategies. The rationale for the accident is a mixture of a number of components on the Vostochny Cosmodrome… [that are] inconceivable to detect by any current mathematical fashions.

In different phrases, area is difficult, however we’re not silly. And actually, the notion that an company with dozens of latest profitable launches would fail in such a fundamental method simply doesn’t maintain water. Every kind of math wouldn’t add up.

Nonetheless, the failure is a high-profile blow each to the credibility of the company (contradictory tales like this by no means look good) and its perceived reliability — crucial at a time when personal alternate options like SpaceX are gearing as much as compete instantly with Russia’s profitable launch enterprise.

Featured Picture: Roscosmos

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