The astronauts who returned to Earth from ISS on September 10 were flying blind.

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Another Russian space glitch: The astronauts who returned to Earth from ISS on September 10 were flying blind.

The altitude sensors apparently failed soon after undocking. Since the Soyuz craft is not piloted but returns to Earth automatically, this failure was not crucial. That it happened, however, sends another worrisome signal about declining Russian quality control standards. If this system failed, why couldn’t another more crucial one fail as well?



  • Kelly Starks

    Yeah, that had to be loads of fun.
    One wonders what next will fail on the increasingly comical and unrelyable Soyuz – our only taxi to our spacestation until its nearly finished.

  • “”The bottom line is, the Soyuz performed as it was expected to,”

    So, sensor failures are an expected flight condition? I understand the point: the descent was otherwise nominal; no harm, no foul. But as you point out, what else might go wrong? A question I’m sure was uppermost in the crew’s minds.

  • Edward

    The real bummer is that this wouldn’t have been a concern if they Russians didn’t have a quality control problem with other significant hardware. It would have just been a minor bug that needed to be fixed. Instead it has become something that we all worry about, because we don’t know whether it is an isolated problem or is symptomatic of the larger quality control issue.

    Perhaps we are overly sensitive right now to such problems, but we should at least be sensitive to them. As I tell my friends and family, it’s not like driving a car; if it stops working, you can’t just pull over and call for a tow. Airplanes are almost as bad, but with airplanes there is a better chance of successfully putting down in some farmer’s field.

    “No harm, no foul.” Well … yes, there was a foul. It just didn’t interfere with scoring the point.

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