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International commission to decide on resumption of Proton-M booster launches

July 03, 2013, 13:49 UTC+3

International Launch Services comission will issue a decision based on conclusions of Russian experts investigating the latest Proton-M crash

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MOSCOW, July 3 (Itar-Tass) - A special commission set up by International Launch Services /ILS/ will decide on the resumption of launches of the Proton-M booster rocket, after it receives the conclusions by the Russian experts who are looking into the latest Proton-M crash, ILS reported on its website.

The press service of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center said "setting up a special commission by International Launch Services is a standard procedure. "After an accident, ILS creates a commission comprising customers, insurers and experts. They familiarize themselves with the results of work by the Russian accident board represented by Khrunichev Center specialists before making a decision," it said.

The press service of Roskosmos said the accident board has been working for a second day. It is not known when the probe might finish. "No official data will be released until the specialists have examined all the versions of the failed booster rocket launch and selected one of them, Roskosmos said.

A Proton-M booster carrying three Glonass-M satellites blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome at 06:38, Moscow time on Tuesday. Immediately after the launch, it deviated from the trajectory and began to disintegrate in midair. It fell some 2.5 kilometers from the launch site and exploded. Roskosmos said the accident occurred in the 17th second of the flight because of emergency engine shutdown. An aerospace source said the accident had not been caused by a breakdown of the DM-03 accelerator unit.

A heptyl cloud formed after the explosion. The launch pad and the launch crew were not harmed, and no casualties were reported at the crash site. A commission led by Deputy Roskosmos director Alexander Lopatin is looking into the cause of the accident.

Vice president of the GLONASS federal network operator Yevgeny Belyanko said the loss of three satellites would not affect the operation of the GLONASS system.

Prime Minister Medvedev ordered his deputy Dmitry Rogozin to set up a government commission to find the cause of the accident and demanded a list of the guilty persons, including high-ranking Roskosmos officials.

Rogozin has to work out measures to prevent similar accidents in the future.


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