MOSCOW-An investigation has found that a failed Russian rocket launch three weeks ago that aborted after just two minutes was caused by a sensor that was damaged during assembly, a top Russian official said on Thursday.
A new manned space mission is expected to be launched on December 3 while an unmanned Progress cargo spaceship will be sent to the ISS on November 16.
Officials believe the sensor's failure caused a booster rocket from the first stage to malfunction and hit a fuel tank, which led to the loss of stabilisation and the emergency landing.
Roscosmos' executive director Sergei Krikalyov said Wednesday the probe found that a malfunction of a sensor which signals the jettisoning one of the rocket's four side boosters caused the booster to collide with the second stage of the rocket.
Russian cosmonaut and mission commander Alexei Ovchinin and USA astronaut flight engineer Nick Hague ejected in an emergency capsule on October 11 after the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle taking them to the ISS failed due to a malfunctioning booster.
Krikalyov said: "The industry is now making significant efforts to move forward the launch to December 3".
The Soyuz is now the only rocket that is capable of sending humans to the ISS and a launch failure hasn't happened since 1983.
During the aborted launch, Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin and USA astronaut Nick Hague made an emergency landing and escaped unharmed.
The upcoming launch will loft cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and the Canadian Space Agency's David Saint-Jacques.
Referencing findings of an official inquiry into the accident, Skorobogatov said two more Soyuz rockets might have the same defect.
The company that produces the Soyuz rockets said, following the incident, that it will conduct a re-testing of its employees and increase the number of cameras monitoring the production process.
Skorobogatov warned that two other rockets - one of which was also at Baikonur - may have problems due to assembly.
"Every accident has a name and surname (of the guilty party)", he said.