Soyuz capsule nearly killed astronauts

Contributed by
Apr 23, 2008

Update (April 24): Universe Today has more info on what happened; there were problems in the Soyuz performance, but in a weird way it performed correctly; it has a very stable design that allows some failures without killing the crew. But as UT points out, the way this was handled by the Russian space agency is "worrying".

So I'm gone for a few days, and when I get back see tons of news I missed. But the most disturbing was that the Soyuz capsule bringing home astronauts from the ISS had malfunctions that nearly killed the astronauts on board... and that it appears that the Russians have made a conscious campaign to cover up or shift blame for any problems.

This needs to be confirmed, of course, but there's an awful lot of badness lurking in this story. I'm sure we'll hear more from NASA and almost certainly Congress. The Russians have been good space partners at some times and very bad ones at others (though in their defense, a lot of issues were due to their collapsed economy). But when their spacecraft nearly kills an American citizen, I would hope Congress would investigate.

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