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Russian spacecraft Soyuz’s launch aborted seconds before take-off

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NEW DELHI: The planned launch of Russia‘s Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) was abruptly canceled mere seconds before its scheduled departure on Thursday. Set for lift-off from Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan, the spacecraft was to transport astronauts from Russia, the United States, and Belarus.
The cancellation, occurring precisely at 4:21 pm Moscow time (1321 GMT), unfolded as the engines failed to ignite, halting the countdown in a critical moment while the crew members were secured in the spacecraft.”Attention at the launch complex. There was an automatic launch cancellation. Bring the units of the launch complex to the initial state,” announced the flight controller in a live transmission by Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency.
Nasa, paralleling the Russian broadcast, reported the abort happened around “the T minus 20 second mark,” attributing the halt to the failure in “engine sequence start,” which consequently led to the “automatic command to abort the countdown.”
Yury Borisov, the head of Roscosmos, revealed that the sudden halt was due to a “voltage dip” in the chemical power source during the final moments before launch. Despite the hiccup, Borisov assured that the event was part of the unpredictability of space missions and announced the rescheduled launch for Saturday.
This mishap adds to the challenges faced by Moscow’s historical yet stumbling space program, which has recently witnessed various setbacks, including the loss of a lunar probe and multiple coolant leaks on the Russian segment of the ISS.
However, the crew aboard the thwarted Soyuz MS-25 mission – comprising Nasa’s Tracy Caldwell Dyson, Roscosmos’s Oleg Novitskiy, and Marina Vasilevskaya from Belarus – were confirmed safe and were extracted from the spacecraft following the failed launch.
Once the sole conveyors to the ISS following Nasa’s Space Shuttle program conclusion, Russian Soyuz missions have faced new competition from the US’s partnership with SpaceX, marking an end to Russia’s monopoly on manned space launches.
The global space community looks on as Roscosmos aims to redeem its legacy with the upcoming rescheduled mission, aiming to maintain its place in the competitive arena of space exploration.
(With inputs from agencies)

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