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Booster rocket accident caused by control system malfunction

July 09, 2013, 15:04 UTC+3

Currently, a crisis commission is continuing the probe

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MOSCOW, July 9 (Itar-Tass) - The Proton-M booster rocket accident occurred because of control system malfunction, an aerospace source told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

"Of course, it's a human factor. During the assembly of the rocket, wrong parameters were set, which resulted in incorrect command to the rocket control system," the source said.

"The Proton-M was given the wrong input because of sloppy work. Perhaps, the control system itself is beyond reproach, and the error was made during the assembly," the aerospace official added.

Currently, a crisis commission is continuing the probe. The Roskosmos federal aerospace agency has not commented on possible causes of the accident yet.

A Proton-M booster carrying three Glonass-M satellites blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome at 06:38, Moscow time on July 2. 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. The commission which is investigating the accident is led by Deputy Roskosmos director Alexander Lopatin.

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 identify the guilty persons behind the failed launch, including high-ranking Roskosmos officials.

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

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