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Guests: John Batchelor, Anatoly Zak, Dr. David Livingston. Topics: Soyuz rocket launch stage separation problem, emergency abort, astronaut recovery, accident investigation.
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John Batchelor and I welcomed back Anatoly Zak for updates on the Soyuz Rocket Launch-Abort on Oct. 11, 2018. We went over astronaut Nick Hague's perspective of the accident and the abort, then Anatoly updated us on the cause of the accident, the investigation, the resumption of a Soyuz human spaceflight launch schedule, possible delays, and even the chance of having the ISS abandoned if the current crew has to return before the expiration date of the Soyuz lifeboat attached to the ISS. Anatoly described the separation problem and when asked if it could have been sabotage, he doubted it saying that there had been an earlier Soyuz stage separation failure with a signal problem. He explained why this problem could happen as part of the manufacturing process. Don't miss what he said about it. Also discussed was the resumption of human spaceflight using the Soyuz. Anatoly said that there were three cargo only flights planned to the ISS and then a final decision would be made on the resumption of human spaceflight. If that is delayed and the delays goes beyond the expiration date of the attached Soyuz lifeboat, Anatoly discussed what would happen if the station had to be abandoned. He downplayed the risk but said it was a last choice decision though the station could be controlled from the ground. He also pointed out that Mir was left empty and controlled from the ground for several months. I asked Anatoly about the role of NASA in the investigation. Don't miss what he said in response to the question. Before our single segment ended, John asked Anatoly about resumption of Proton flights, regaining the Proton commercial market and quality control issues finally being resolved.
Please post your comments/questions on the blog for this show. You can reach Anatoly Zak and John through me. Anatoly can also be reached through his website, www.russianspaceweb.com.