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Launch of Russian communications satellites to be delayed due to Proton crash

May 27, 2015, 13:52 UTC+3
The Proton-M carrier rocket on May 16 failed to orbit the Mexican communications satellite MexSat-1
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© Yevgeny Kurskov/TASS

KAZAN, May 27. /TASS/. The crash of the Proton-M carrier rocket with a Mexican communications satellite will cause a 2-3 month delay with the launches of Russian telecommunications spacecraft, Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said on Wednesday.

"The proton crash certainly means rescheduling, we’ll delay the launches for 2-3 months, but this is not critical," he told a news conference devoted to information technology in the defence industry sector in Russia’s Tatarstan republic in the Volga Federal District.

"We have an extensive launch programme, there were two launches last year and two launches were planned this year. We perceive any accident with a pain in our heart," the minister added.

According to Nikiforov, "We tightly defend the principle that we must use our money to produce Russian satellites." The minister said on many occasions before he was against ordering the production of civilian satellites abroad, although admitting that the prices of domestic space vehicles were overstated so far.

The results of the work of the commission investigating the causes of the Proton-M carrier rocket crash that occurred on May 16 will be reported to the government on Friday, May 29, a Russian space and industry source previously. "The commission will complete its work and report the results to the Russian government on May 29," the source said Monday. According to him, the emergencies commission working at the Khrunichev Centre (Proton manufacturer) has exposed a number of violations in the carrier rocket production. "This is, undoubtedly, a human error. The fault occurred in the rocket manufacturing process," he said. He declined to name the exact cause of the accident, saying that it would be reported to the government first.

The Proton-M carrier rocket on May 16 failed to orbit the Mexican communications satellite MexSat-1 - a contingency occurred one minute before the planned separation of the third stage from the satellite and the booster. The satellite and the booster burned up in the atmosphere over Russia’s Trans-Baikal territory. The commission investigating the Proton rocket failure causes is head by head of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) Igor Komarov.

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