Soyuz Light Rocket Debut Delayed by Live Test Failure

The inaugural launch of the Soyuz-2-1v rocket has been delayed from this year until sometime in 2013 due to a live test firing failure that damaged the rocket. reports that a planned 200-second firing of the first stage engine failed after only a few seconds, resulting in damage to the propulsion section of the rocket.

The website’s sources indicated that “an erroneous shutdown command had been issued based on data from the RD-0110R steering engine which indicated that the engine’s turbopump exceed an allowable rotation speed. The turbine of RD-0110R was destroyed, even though all input parameters for its operation seemed to be normal.”

The test article and stand have been repaired. The next live firing is now set for the end of February.

In the meantime, the Chemical Automation Design Bureau (KBKhA) reports that it successfully test fired a RD-0110R steering engine on Nov. 22 at its test facility.

The new rocket is a scaled-down “light” version of the traditional Soyuz launch vehicle that is designed to deliver up to 2,800 kg of spacecraft into low Earth orbit. Modifications include eliminating four strap-on boosters and replacing the first-stage engine with the NK-33 motor, which was originally developed for the Soviet Union’s aborted manned moon program.