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Proton launch on September 15 in doubt - expert

August 14, 2013, 23:44 UTC+3
The scheduling of the remainder of the ILS Proton near term manifest for 2013 is currently being determined
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, August 14 (Itar-Tass) - Russia will resume Proton launches after thorough checks following the latest rocket crash in July, a space industry expert said.

“I have very serious doubts about the launch of the European satellite Astra-2E aboard the Proton carrier rocket scheduled for September 15 and announced by International Launch Services on its website,” the expert told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday, August 14.

“A thorough investigation has to be conducted first to prevent such situations in the future and make sure that all instructions have been fulfilled and only then continue working with the carrier rocket,” he said.

The ILS Proton return to flight mission will be the Astra 2E satellite for SES on September 15, 2013. The scheduling of the remainder of the ILS Proton near term manifest for 2013 is currently being determined.

Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) Deputy Head Alexander Lopatin said in July that Russia would resume Proton carrier rocket launches in September at the earliest.

“The schedule of Proton launches will be moved to September. But we will make the final decision after all work has been completed,” he said.

“We need to wait for the commission to finish its work and devise a plan for avoiding such situations in the future, make sure that all instructions have been fulfilled and only then continue working with the carrier rocket,” Lopatin said.

Prior to the Proton-M accident in July, its next launch was scheduled for the same month under an international programme.

The next Proton launch is scheduled for September 15, 2013, to orbit the satellite Astra-2E.

The rocket Proton-M with three satellites Glonass-M deviated sharply from the flight trajectory seconds after the liftoff from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on July 2 and started falling apart in midair, then crashed not far from the launch site and exploded.

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