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MOSCOW, November 26 (Itar-Tass) — The mechanical damage of the Proton carrier rocket will not affect the schedule of the upcoming launches of the Yamal-402 and Satmex satellites, the press service of the Khrunichev State Space Research and Production Space Centre told Itar-Tass on Monday.
“When the train with the carrier rocket arrived at the cosmodrome, defects in two units of the first stage booster were found during its examination. These defects are not linked with the rocket manufacturing, they are mechanical and the damage was done during the transportation of the carrier rocket’s stages from the enterprise to the launch site. The causes of such a situation are currently being analysed,” the press service said.
It also said that given the importance of meeting the schedule of the upcoming launches, the leadership of the Khrunichev Centre has decided to send another Proton rocket to the Baikonur cosmodrome. It was dispatched to the launch site on the night to November 20.
Proton (formal designation: UR-500) is an expendable launch system used for both commercial and Russian government space launches. The first Proton rocket was launched in 1965 and the launch system is still in use as of 2012, which makes it one of the most successful heavy boosters in the history of spaceflight. All Protons are built at the Khrunichev plant in Moscow, and then transported for launch to the Baikonur cosmodrome, where they are brought to the launch pad horizontally and then raised into vertical position for launch.
Before the end of the current year it is planned to carry out two more launches of the Proton carrier rocket. In December, the Yamal-402 and Satmex satellites are to be orbited by this launch vehicle.