Russian space official denies report of problem in Soyuz return

Sept. 13, 2013 at 10:11 PM

MOSCOW, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The head of Russia's space agency denied a Russian spacecraft returning from the International Space Station flew blind after sensors failed during descent.

One of the crew, cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov, had said the sensor failure meant the crew couldn't gather information about the module's altitude.

"After separation (of the landing and orbital modules) all our parameters we must control disappeared," Pavel Vinogradov told reporters in Moscow after returning there from the landing site in Kazakhstan Wednesday.

Vinogradov, Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy were aboard the returning Soyuz spacecraft.

However, the head of Russia's Federal Space Agency denied the cosmonaut's claim Friday, RIA Novosti reported.

"It wasn't a blind landing," Vladimir Popovkin said, explaining mission control simply switched off an information display in the landing module of the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft.

The cosmonauts still had enough readings to complete the landing procedure without problems, he said.

"Two dates simply overlapped in a program, and we had to turn off the [information] display so that [the readings] would not be patchy on the screen," Popovkin said.

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