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The accident after the launch from the East occurred because of the error of the algorithm of the upper stage

The cause of the accident that occurred after launching from the Vostochny 28 spaceport in November was an error in the algorithm of the Fregat upper stage, the head of Roskosmos Igor Komarov told journalists on Tuesday. He stressed that the mistake could not be identified by existing methods before the start.

“The specialists came to the conclusion that the unpredictable behavior of the upper stage after its separation from the launch vehicle led to the emergency situation. Unfortunately, we faced a problem that was not related to quality, not to discipline in the workplace, but to the peculiarity of software development, which was first tested about 20 years ago. It was the first launch from this cosmodrome in this combination Soyuz-Frigate. I must say that if this launch took place at a different time of the year and there were several other fields of fall, then we probably would not have an accident ”,“ Interfax ”quotes Mr. Komarov. He recalled that the "Frigate" was developed in 1998 year, and since then 62 once successfully launched into orbit the payload from the Baikonur, Plesetsk and Kourou space centers (French Guyana). “A consistent analysis of the incident led us to the discovery of new issues that had not previously been investigated, and they are actually related to the development history of the upper stage. OCD was launched in the 1998 year, and was preparing for the first launch of the Frigate in the 2000 year. Then the algorithm of the overclocking unit was worked out. That is, after the development of this algorithm, 62 launches of the Frigate were carried out, in which the feature of this algorithm was not reflected and no comments on its operation were noted, ”said the head of Roscosmos.

In turn, the first deputy director of Roskosmos Alexander Ivanov said that the immediate cause of the accident was the imperfection of the software of the upper stage, which could not be identified by existing methods. "All members of the emergency commission agreed with the findings. The reason is unequivocal. The cause of the emergency was the imperfection of the software algorithms for the control system of the Fregat upper stage, which manifested itself at the launch from the Vostochny cosmodrome. The algorithm of the control system led to an incorrect determination of the orientation of the upper stage after separation from the carrier rocket with the initial azimuths of the launch vehicle and the upper stage at the launch complex of the Vostochny cosmodrome, "he said. Existing mathematical methods for modeling spacecraft extraction could not reveal such a mistake. The Commission found that all the work at the launch site, connected with the preparation for launching the launch vehicle, could not lead to a similar result. No comments were made to the work and systems of the cosmodrome.

“This does not apply to Kuru, Plesetsk, or Baikonur, because azimuths that would be rotated 180 degrees do not exist and cannot exist. This applies to the upper unit "Frigate" on the East, and only to the sun-synchronous orbit. This is the confluence of the orbit, the azimuth of the start, the areas of fall and weather conditions. It is treated with software methods. This is not a metal, not engines, not a soldering, it is the development of programs, debugging and testing with new methods, ”Alexander Ivanov quotes the agency. He also said that the third launch from East, scheduled for December 22, will be postponed to the beginning of next year.

Roskosmos has formed a special commission, which will establish the extent of responsibility in the occurred individual leaders of the industry. Igor Komarov announced his readiness to lead it.
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