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Commission launched to probe Russian rocket failure

May 16, 2014, 13:58 UTC+3 VORONEZH

The commission would examine every element of the engine's production process

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© ITAR-TASS/Oleg Urusov

VORONEZH, May 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Experts will start an inquiry into the engine failure aboard Russia's Proton-M rocket after its launch from Baikonur space base in Kazakhstan on Friday.

Manufacturers Voronezh Mechanical Plant are setting up an investigative commission to probe why the rocket's third stage engine malfunctioned, the facility’s press secretary, Nina Smirnova, told Itar-Tass on Friday.

The commission would examine every element of the engine's production process, she said, as the design bureau responsible for it launched its own inquiry.

Russian Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin believes the only way to prevent accidents in space is decisive and consistent fulfillment of already taken decisions to reform the rocket and space industry. He wrote it on his Facebook page.

Engines as used on the fated rocket were first designed in the 1960s and have since been manufactured in large quantities, a plant official said.

The rocket, intended to take a communications satellite into orbit, began its flight from Baikonur at 01.42 Moscow time on Friday, burning up in dense layers of the atmosphere above the Pacific.

Early reports said the engine failed 545 seconds into the flight when Proton was at a height of 161 kilometres.

State commission experts are conducting their own probe. Russia's space agency plans two more Proton launches this year.

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