MOSCOW, October 18 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) found violations in the organization of launches of Express-AM4 that failed to make orbit and Progress M-12M cargo ship that fell to the earth in August.
"At the prosecutor general’s instruction, the PGO ran checks into the facts of space accidents involving the Express-AM4 spacecraft and the Progress M-12M cargo ship in August," PGO spokeswoman Marina Gridneva said on Tuesday.
"It was ascertained that both accidents occurred due to employees' negligence during checks of the equipment at state-owned aerospace companies subordinate to the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos), and also because of lack of proper control over the appropriate decisions by authorized persons.
"In a submission made to the Roskosmos director, the PGO demanded that the persons responsible for the accident be disciplined and fined, and the guilty legal entities pay damages sustained by the state," Gridneva said.
In addition, the PGO offered to add an article to the Criminal Code envisioning punishment for violations that lead to aerospace accidents.
On August 18, a Proton-M booster with a Briz-M accelerator unit blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome carrying an Express-AM4 unit. The unit did not reach the designated orbit because of a malfunction in the accelerator unit's control system.
On August 24, a Soyuz-U booster with the Progress M-12M supply ship blasted off the Baikonur cosmodrome to the International Space Station. This launch was unsuccessful too, due to the emergency shutdown of booster rocket engines. The ship fell in the territory of the republic of Altai.
Prosecutors launched the check on August 25, when Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika ordered the prosecutor of the Baikonur cosmodrome to check the compliance with legislation in the production of spacecraft and their launch, attract specialists in order to ascertain the cause of the malfunctions during the launches of booster rockets, and give a legal evaluation of officials' actions.