Manager resigns as investigation pinpoints issues during first Vostochny launch

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The first head rolls: Even as the investigation into the one day delay for the first Vostochny launch uncovers number of issues, including an incorrectly installed cable, the manager of one division has already resigned.

The problem with a cable made in violation of designer documents delayed the launch of a Soyuz-2.1a rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, the newspaper Izvestia wrote on May 5. “Academician Semikhatov NPO Avtomatiki modeled that situation, saw it with their eyes and certified the results. The rocket’s cable was made in violation of designer documents and lacked a number of vital straps,” a representative of the Roscosmos administration told the newspaper. “Heads of the Yekaterinburg-based NPOA and those responsible for the integrity of methods used in testing the ground control system at the cosmodrome will be definitely held responsible for the contingency,” he said.

They have also found an additional “20 problems”. Expect more heads to roll, which might be a good thing, as it might help fix some of the quality control problems that have become an increasing problem in the Russian aerospace industry.

One comment

  • Edward

    That they saw the problem and did not fix it at the time suggests that the quality control people need more training, or more authority and confidence that it is OK to stop work, or both.

    That heads are rolling because the computer caught the error — last ditch QC — suggests to me that there is more concern for schedule than for actual quality. It also suggests to me that the Russian space program is being ruled by fear rather than having respect for their leadership.

    Oftentimes, an investigation into a problem will reveal additional potential problems, as happened in this case. The earlier you are in development or test, the more potential problems you should expect to find.

    Rush jobs often end up with lower quality, sometimes because quality was made a lower priority than schedule. We saw this in the movie “The Martian,” but in that fictitious case a slip in schedule would have made the quality moot.

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