The July 2 crash of a Proton-M launch vehicle at the Baikonur Space Center occurred due to the fact that three angular rate sensors had been installed incorrectly while the rocket was being assembled, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said in a report.
“The space rocket’s failed launch was due to an error during installation of three yaw-axis angular rate sensors on the Proton-M rocket by the Khrunichev State Space Research and Production Center,” an interagency commission investigating the crash said in a report posted on the Roscosmos website on Thursday.
Control methods currently used during the rocket’s ground preparations and tests make it impossible to detect the incorrect installation of the sensors, the report said. “The error was committed during the production stage and became apparent during flight,” the document says.
The commission determined that the liftoff switch was activated 0.4 seconds before the rocket actually separated from the launch pad.
The crash of this rocket at Baikonur has caused a delay to future launches, including that of the new UK TV Astra 2 satellite, which was scheduled for launch on the 20th July, but whose launch is still to be rescheduled.
Video of Russian Rocket Crash at Baikonur on the 2nd July