Progress spacecraft crash caused by third-stage engine blast or control system malfunction - source

The Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft weighing about 7 tonnes, launched from the Baikonur space center on April 28, was sent 40 kilometers higher than the planned orbit because of the third engine's blast rather than a gas outburst due to the depressurization of the Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle's oxidizer and fuel tanks, a Russian space rocket industry source told Interfax-AVN.

The Progress M-27M cargo spacecraft weighing about 7 tonnes, launched from the Baikonur space center on April 28, was sent 40 kilometers higher than the planned orbit because of the third engine's blast rather than a gas outburst due to the depressurization of the Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle's oxidizer and fuel tanks, a Russian space rocket industry source told Interfax-AVN.

"The unsealing of the tanks is not the reason but a result of another, more powerful, event, such as the third stage engine's blast," the source said in airing his special opinion regarding the preliminary conclusions issued on Tuesday by an official commission investigating the crash.

"It is precisely the blast that threw the cargo spacecraft and the third stage to the different sides of the planned orbit [by 40 kilometers higher and by 20 kilometers lower respectively], producing dozens of the third stage's fragments in the process. It was the only reason that could give the cargo spacecraft the spin that it assumed. No gas outburst could do this, nor could it have caused the damage to the spacecraft of which the Roscosmos administration reported," the source said.

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