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Exploded rocket Proton was carrying 500 tonnes of fuel

July 02, 2013, 10:46 UTC+3
The rocket fuel contains heptyl and amyl - poisonous substances, which could have gotten in the layers of the atmosphere and ground after the blast
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Photo ITAR-TASS

Photo ITAR-TASS

ASTANA, July 2 (Itar-Tass) - The rocket Proton-M, which exploded in right after the launch, was carrying 500 tonnes of fuel, when falling poisonous components could have gotten in the environment, the Kazakh insurance company Evrazia told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

“At the moment of the blast the launch vehicle was carrying about 500 tonnes of fuel. The rocket fuel contains heptyl and amyl - poisonous substances, which could have gotten in the layers of the atmosphere and ground after the blast,” a press officer of the insurance company Evrazia said.

“The cleanup should be done at the crash site,” he added.

The launch of the rocket Proton-M with three Russian navigation satellites Glonass-M was scheduled at 08:38 Astana time (06:38 Moscow time) from the launching site number 81 of the spaceport Baikonur on July 2, 2013, the press release of the insurance company said. The separation of the orbital block from the third stage of the booster was to take place after 582 seconds of the flight. The putting of the satellites Glonass-M by the upper stage rocket DM-03 on the target orbit was expected about six hours after the launch.

“As a result of the incident the emergency launch of the booster was made. Several minutes after the launch the rocket got on the wrong trajectory and exploded 70 kilometres from the launching site,” the he said.

The press release also noted that this is the first for the last several years launch of spacecraft that ended in the blast.

The insurance company Evrazia was involved in the insurance of the rocket Proton-M.

Glonass-M satellites

In April of this year from Plesetsk into orbit was successfully launched Glonass-M satellite. Glonass-M is a series of satellites of the Russian GLONASS global navigation system of the 2nd generation. The satellites are designed and manufactured by "Information Satellite Systems" n.a. Reshetnev. They differ from the devices of the Glonass series /of the 1st generation/ due to guaranteed lifetime of 7 years. These satellites, unlike the previous generation devices, transmit two signals for civilian users that allow to improve the positioning accuracy. Currently the constellation of GLONASS satellites consists of 24 navigation system devices used for their intended purpose. They provide global coverage of the entire planet irrespective of the time of year, day and weather conditions. Another four spacecrafts are orbiting reserve. Furthermore, the newest satellite GLONASS-K is already undergoing flying tests.

Space program failures

Failures pursued the Russian space industry in the past year. On August 7, 2012 the rocket Proton-M couldn't bring satellites on orbit. The reason was the upper stage engine shut down.

On August 31, Vladimir Putin said that he considers necessary to improve the space industry. In September, Vladimir Nesterov was dismissed from the position of General Director of the State Research and Production Space Center /Khrunichev/ n.a. Khrunichev. "We have no permanent staff," - said the then head of Roscosmos, Vladimir Popovkin. Nesterov replaced Vasily Sychev. Later, Dmitry Medvedev proposed a financial liability of legal persons for the poor quality of products the space industry.

This failure of Proton-M was not the first accident of this type of rocket. An incident with Proton received a great response in September 2007. Then the rocket that was set to launch a Japanese commercial satellite, fell near the town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan, in which at the time was the country's president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The Kazakh authorities have estimated that the damage to the country amounted to about $60 million.

In 2011, as a result of the accident was lost the space truck Progress M-12M, the same year were lost military satellite Geo-IK-2, Phobos-Grunt spacecraft and a dual-purpose satellite Meridian. Meanwhile, it is expected to invest 650 billion rubles in the Russian space industry until 2015.

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