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Proton failure to affect commercial launches, says Russian space center director

May 22, 2015, 16:41 UTC+3
Proton-M carrier rocket’s head and third stage failed to separate and burnt up in the dense layers of the Earth’s atmosphere on May 16
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Assembling a Proton carrier rocket at Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre

Assembling a Proton carrier rocket at Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre

© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, May 22./TASS/. The director general of the Russian Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre forecasts a decline in the number of commercial launches following the failure of a Proton carrier rocket.

"Of course, the failure will affect the number of launches that we have been planning to get, as insurance compensations will be growing, and this will naturally tell on the final cost of the launch," Andrey Kalinovsky told Rossiya 24 radio on Friday.

Kalinovsky said the market of commercial launches has changed, new players have emerged, and this must be taken into consideration. He admitted a shrinking presence of the company on the market of launch services and fewer Proton launches.

The director general said, however, that in the long run the company would "retain its presence on the market".

The Proton-M carrier rocket with the Briz-M acceleration unit and Mexica’s Mexsat-1 satellite blasted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan at 08:47 a.m. Moscow time (05:47 GMT) on May 16.

The Briz-M acceleration unit with the Mexican satellite was expected to separate from the carrier rocket at 08:57 a.m. Moscow time (05:57 GMT). However, a minute before the designated separation, an emergency situation occurred at an altitude of 161 km, due to which the rocket’s head and third stage failed to separate and burnt up in the dense layers of the Earth’s atmosphere above the Trans-Baikal area in East Siberia.

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