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No invitation to US rocket disaster probe for Russian experts

October 29, 2014, 16:17 UTC+3 SAMARA
Specialists from the Samara-based Kuznetsov engine-manufacturer are not in the fact-finding team
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© EPA/NASA TV/HANDOUT

SAMARA, October 29. /TASS/. Russian space rocket engine-makers partnering US constructors of the ill-fated American rocket blown up on launch on Tuesday have not been asked to join the accident inquiry, officials at the firm have announced.

Specialists from the Samara-based Kuznetsov engine-manufacturer are not in the fact-finding team, press service officials said at the firm, producing engines then modified by the American side for launch into space.

Kuznetsov is Russia's leading manufacturer of aviation gas-turbine and liquid-fuel rocket engines, powering Russian manned spaceships Vostok, Voskhod, Soyuz and space freighters Progress.

Disaster befell the American Antares carrier rocket on its launch from the NASA agency Wallops Island facility in Virginia on Tuesday. The rocket was lifting off to take the Cygnus space freighter to the International Space Station, delivering two tonnes of food and 720 kilograms of equipment and material for scientific experiments.

Kuznetsov engineers have been advising the US side on adapting the Russian engine but play no part in the modification process or in technical maintenance, the press service told TASS, noting its own engine's successful flight record.

“It would be incorrect to draw definite conclusions on causes behind the crash at this stage,” Kuznetsov said.

Infographics Antares rocket explodes Antares rocket explodes
Overnight to October 29, a US Antares carrier rocket exploded seconds after liftoff from the spaceport in Virginia. The rocket was to carry the cargo spacecraft to the orbit and deliver to the ISS more than 2 tons of payload. Infographics by TASS

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