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Premier to review aerospace industry situation next week

August 07, 2012, 15:30 UTC+3
The decision on suspending the launches of Proton-M booster rockets would be made after a comprehensive analysis of the situation by a special commission
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 MOSCOW, August 7 (Itar-Tass) — Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will chair a conference next week to review the situation in the aerospace industry, following an unsuccessful satellite launch, a spokeswoman said.

"The situation will be analyzed next week with Medvedev's participation," the spokeswoman for Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.

A Proton-M booster rocket with the Briz-M accelerator unit soared aloft from the Baikonur launch pad at 23:31, Moscow time, on August 6. It had to put in orbit two satellites: Russia's Express MD2 and Indonesia's Telkomk-3. The Briz-M malfunctioned and its engine only worked seven seconds instead of 18 minutes five seconds. As a result, the satellites failed to reach the preset orbits.

A Roskosmos representative earlier said "the Briz-M and two satellites were not found in transit orbit."

"The signal from the head unit was received from emergency interim orbit. The head unit is now being tracked by means of Russian space troops and Roskosmos' equipment. An analysis of the situation is underway," the Roskosmos official said.

No conclusions or instructions have been issued in connection with the failed launch attempt. Roskosmos spokesman Alexei Kuznetsov said the decision on suspending the launches of Proton-M booster rockets with Briz accelerator units would be made after a comprehensive analysis of the situation by a special commission.

It is not the first failed launch involving Proton-M boosters. In September 2007, a Proton that had to put into orbit a Japanese commercial satellite, fell near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, where the country's President Nursultan Nazarbayev was staying at the time. The Kazakh authorities said the damage caused by the fall of the Proton-M rocket amounted to some 60 million dollars.

In 2011, a cargo ship, Progress-M-12M, was lost in a similar accident, while the military lost a Geo IK-2 unit, and the scientists lost the Fobos Grunt probe intended for bringing ground samples from Mars' satellite. The Meridian dual-purpose satellite was lost last year, too.

Former Roskosmos chief Anatoly Perminov explained the failed launches by improper control.

Roskosmos dissolved the department which controlled boosters and accelerator units, and now not all measures are taken during the preparation for launches, Perminov said.

In his opinion, it will be difficult to find the culprit behind the latest failed launch. Also, Perminov believes the defect which shut off the Briz-M engine might be exposed at the manufacturer's company.

Meanwhile, the Ingosstrakh insurance company said it was ready to fully meet its obligations and pay over one billion roubles for the lost Express MD2 satellite after official confirmation from the Roskosmos aerospace agency.

Ingosstrakh is ready to pay a total of 1.177,149 billion roubles, company spokesman Vladimir Kreimyonov told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

"The risks were re-insured in the international re-insurance market," Kleimyonov said, "the company insured the launch and operation of the satellite and the list of insurance risks includes "full or partial destruction of the spacecraft."

The press service of the Russian television and broadcasting network /RTRS/ said the failed launch would not "seriously affect the tempo of introducing digital broadcasting in Russia."

But the Space Communication company which had ordered the satellite, called its loss "quite tangible." It had assumed that Express MD2 would compensate the loss of the Express AM4 satellite in the summer of 2011.

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