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Russia’s Federal Space Agency should compensate for damage from launch delays — ministry

May 27, 2015, 11:38 UTC+3 KAZAN
Russia lost a Proton carrier rocket with a Mexican satellite aboard during an abortive launch on May 16
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© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Kazak

KAZAN, May 27. /TASS/. Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) should compensate for damage caused by delays in the launches of Russian communications satellites over the recent Proton-M carrier rocket accident, Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said on Wednesday.

"There must be responsibility for everything. If a producer delivers a satellite to us behind a schedule, it pays a penalty in the amount of missed profit from the use of this satellite, and if Roscosmos delays Proton launches, it must not only resolve problems with Protons but also pay us damage," the minister said at a conference on information technologies in the defense industry held in the Volga Republic of Tatarstan.

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier said Russia should introduce financial liability for disruption of space projects, including carrier rocket launches.

Russia lost a Proton carrier rocket with a Mexican satellite aboard during an abortive launch on May 16.

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 section 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.

According to preliminary information, a breakdown occurred in a steering engine of the third stage, similar to the Proton accident last year.

The failure in the launch of a Proton-M carrier rocket in May 2014 was caused by a breakdown of a bearing in the turbine pump system of a steering engine.

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