Zenit rocket was uncontrollable even before launch

Instruments controlling the steering gear responsible for engine nozzle deflection broke down seconds before the Zenit carrier rocket departed from the launch pad, which led to a crash, a source in the space rocket industry told Interfax-AVN on Sunday.

"The unit controlling the steering gear in the first stage broke down, which disabled the steering gear and sent the engine chambers moving in the wrong direction," he said.

All this made the rocket's pitch motion uncontrollable, while the automated system cut the flight short after data arrived about the malfunction and a wrong trajectory, he said.

"The Zenit rocket went out of control immediately after launch. It broke down even before it departed from the launch pad," the source said.

Reports said earlier that a Zenit launch vehicle carrying a Dutch satellite fell into the Pacific Ocean one minute into the flight. The rocket was launched on January 31, PST, under the Sea Launch project.

 Immediate reports said that the Zenit-2SKL went off trajectory shortly after launch, which caused the engine's emergency shutdown. "The rocket fell into the ocean. Neither the command ship, nor the floating platform was damaged," a source in the space rocket industry told Interfax on January 31.

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