After a thorough investigation into the cause of the sudden crash of a Russian supply ship Soyuz, the Russian Space Agency has found that the accident was caused by a manufacturing flaw.
The Soyuz Cargo, which was equipped with supplies that were intended for the International Space Station crashed several minutes after its launch last month, which opened up the possibility of shutting down the station until the details of the cause were found.
According to NASA officials the space station would have been unmanned for the first time in 11 years while partner countries discussed whether they should resume launches of Russian Soyuz to the Space Station.
According to a government panel that investigated the crash the failure was due to a gas generator but the flaw was deemed Accidental, and all similar rocket engines will be checked as a result, the Associated Press reported.
The accident came as a big blow following the retirement of NASA's space shuttle as the Soyuz became the only means of getting astronauts to the space station.
Meanwhile, he United States does not currently have enough astronauts to meet the demands according to the National Research Council.
The report found that a significant amount of NASA astronauts have been reduced in recent years from nearly 150 in 2000 to 61 astronauts in 2011. The substantial decrease was down to the retirement of the space shuttle, but according to the study with NASA's current plans for staffing the U.S astronaut corps do not provide sufficient flexibility to meet projected ISS mission needs.
With the retirement of the shuttle program and the uncertainty during the transition to a fully operational ISS, it's even more important that the talent level, diversity, and capabilities of the astronaut office be sustained, said Joe Rothenberg, co-chair of the committee that wrote the report and a former senior NASA official now with the SSC
The report also found that while the retirement of the space shuttle has reduced many of the training requirements for NASA, astronauts operating the ISS imposed new requirements that take years of training. Astronauts must now be familiar with European, Japanese and Russian stations modules and equipment according to research.
The Russian agency has announced that it will proceed depending on the condition of the other engines but a specific schedule has not been set.