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After the accident, “Union” in social networks began to joke about the consecration of the rocket before launch. But the ritual has been applied for a long time.

The priest who did this used to say that the consecrated rockets did not fall.

Photo by Bill Ingalls, NASA

On October 11, after a launch from Baikonur on a Soyuz-FG carrier rocket, delivering astronauts to the ISS, an accident occurred. The crew had to make an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan: the American Nick Haig and the Russian Alexei Ovichinin were not injured. After the incident, Russia temporarily suspended manned launches and launched an investigation.

After the first news about the accident, social network users began to search for new data about the rocket and crew on Twitter NASA. In the same place they paid attention to a photo from Baikonur: on it “Union” is consecrated the day before the launch into space. The picture became the basis for jokes that “God’s help did not help much”

The consecration of space rockets is a standard practice in Russia. At Baikonur, Father Sergius, the rector of the local church of the Holy Martyr George the Victorious, deals with this. He also consecrated the “Union” in the picture of a NASA photographer.

The spaceport introduced the tradition in 1998 when they launched the first module of the International Space Station called Zarya. “Thank God, he still works successfully. Someone [of tradition] laughed, someone asked: “And what, zechem?” “, – said the priest.

According to Father Sergius, consecration is an optional procedure, but in the past year almost no launch can do without it. The prior in conversation with “Komsomolskaya Pravda” emphasized that tradition does not give a guarantee against damage. But after the fall of the Proton-M launch vehicle in 2013, Father Sergiy declared that the consecrated spacecraft did not fall.

With those rockets that we consecrated, everything was in order, but those that were not consecrated fell. For example, the recently fallen “Proton” has not been consecrated. It turned out inexplicably – I accidentally did not end up in the city, and the rocket was fired without my blessing. That Providence of God.

There are people who want to sanctify rockets, but there are those who do not want to. Apparently, the Lord shows to such people that we are doing a good and necessary thing.

Father Sergius
Abbot of the Church of the Holy Martyr St. George the Victorious

In 2016, the Soyuz 2.1a rocket was consecrated before the first launch from the Vostochny cosmodrome. True, the rocket took off only at the second attempt: a minute before the launch, the launch was canceled due to problems with the instruments. In 2017, Protodeacon Andrei Kuraev blamed the priest’s “poor-quality work” for the fall of the Union-2.1b.

Some cosmonauts refuse lighting rituals. Father Sergius recalled three cases at Baikonur: a Russian, an American-Mormon, and a sheikh from Malaysia. The former cosmonaut Yuri Usachev criticized the tradition: “When they bless a rocket, it seems to me at least strange. In general, I think that faith is a deeply personal matter, and when all this is done so publicly, there is something in it … I don’t know, I don’t want to say anything abnormal, but something unnatural. ”

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