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Failure of three angular rate sensors confirmed as reason for Proton-M crash

August 05, 2013, 12:42 UTC+3

No failure of process discipline has been reported

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MOSCOW, August 5 (Itar-Tass) - The inter-departmental commission confirmed that the failure of three angular rate sensors had provoked the crash of a Proton-M rocket, deputy head of the Russian Federal Space Agency Alexander Lopatin said on Monday.

The commission found out that the sensors had been installed wrong (with 180 degrees turn). “The testing proved this,” he noted.

“No failure of process discipline has been reported,” Lopatin stressed.

The commission instructed the maker to change the design of angular rate sensors for rockets in order to rule out a possibility of wrong installation. The commission also stressed to equip sites of the rocket assembly, photo- and video recording, Lopatin said.

Sensors’ makers do not recognize their guilty, he said, adding, “No violations have been revealed when sensors are installed. The work is practically over. Totally, six rockets have been checked.”

Till the yearend the Russian Federal Space Agency hopes to make four or five launches of a Proton rocket. The first launch with a foreign satellite is planning to be held in September.

On July 2, the Proton-M rocket with three Glonass-M satellites launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome. However, the rocket changed its flight direction, started to fall and exploded.

According to Roskosmos, the rocket crashed due to the wrong installation of angular rate sensors, which helped monitor the rocket’s attitude in space. Earlier, Lopatin said, “The Khrunichev Centre installed three sensors out of the six ones.” “The sensors can be installed wrong by using physical force while sensors themselves were in good order,” he added.

Criminal proceedings have been instituted.

On July 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin set up a special commission to reform the aerospace sector. The commission is led by Vice-premier Dmitry Rogozin.

On August 2, the government press service reported that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issued a reprimand to Roskosmos head Vladimir Popovkin for the improper execution of duties.

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