A faulty control cable caused the glitch that subjected two Russian cosmonauts and Malaysia's first space traveler to a rough trip back to Earth, according to a report Tuesday.
Citing the head of a spacecraft manufacturer, RIA-Novosti reported that an inquiry revealed that the incident in October had been caused by a damaged control cable. The news agency quoted Vitaly Lopota, the director of the state RKK Energiya company, which is Russia's top spacecraft manufacturer.
The Soyuz landing capsule carrying Russians cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov, and Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, of Malaysia, went down on a steeper-than-usual descent trajectory, the so-called ballistic descent. It subjected the crew to 8.5 times the force of gravity instead of the usual four times the force of gravity.
"It felt like an elephant pressing on my chest, but the Russians trained us very well" to handle a rough descent, Sheikh Muszaphar said shortly after the landing Oct. 21.
Medical tests showed the three cosmonauts were not injured during the descent, but it took them slightly longer than usual to adapt to Earth conditions.
Lopota said that RKK Energiya has taken steps to prevent future problems.