Soyuz-U
Launch vehicle Soyuz-U
Launch site Baikonur, Kazakhstan
Date/Time 2011-08-24 1300 UTC
Description Third stage failure (see note at the end)
Cause Insufficient quality control
Payload Progress M-12M [Progress 44P]
Desired orbit 193 km x 245 km x 51.66 degrees

"During the launch of a Soyuz-U carrier rocket with a Progress M-12M transport ship aboard on August 24, the engine malfunctioned in the third stage on the 325th second, which resulted in its emergency deactivation," Roskosmos said. "The transport ship Progress M-12M has not been put to the designated orbit."

The transport ship, also known under its U.S. designation as Progress 44P, launched at 1300 UTC on 24 August 2011 and was scheduled to dock with the ISS at 1438 UTC on 26 August.

There was no one-of-a-kind equipment aboard the destroyed Progress; more than half the load was water, oxygen and fuel.

The accident was caused by a malfunction in the gas generator in the Soyuz carrier rocket's third stage engine, Roskosmos spokesman Alexei Kuznetsov was quoted as saying.

"The analysis of the operating parameters of the third stage engine and the results of telemetric information provided a conclusion about decreased fuel consumption in the gas generator because of a choked supply tract [i.e. a clogged fuel line]. This resulted in incorrect operating conditions and decreased parameters of the engine which was stopped by the emergency engine stop command," the space agency said.

[Note on the numbering of stages: Russian rocket manufacturers and news media count strap-on boosters attached to the core stage as a separate stage. According to that convention, the Soyuz consists of a first stage (strap-ons), second stage (core stage), third stage (Blok I) and fourth stage (upper stage, for instance Fregat). In Western terms, the rocket would consist of three stages, and the failure would have occurred in the second stage.]

Last updated: 23 December 2011

See also:

 

Launch Failures Chronology