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Accidents with Russian space rockets related to outdated industrial base — expert

July 13, 2015, 14:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Two space launches carried out by Russia in 2015 ended in failure
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© Pyotr Gridin/TASS

MOSCOW, July 13. /TASS/. The accidents with Russia’s space rockets in recent years can be explained by the space and rocket industry’s outdated production, technological and testing base, a Russian expert said on Monday.

"The rocket and space industry has been confronted with a number of serious systemic problems in the past decade, including in the area of ensuring the quality of products in the rocket and space industry," said Alexander Kharchenko, head of the Scientific-Technical Center for the Quality of Rocket and Space Systems at the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building (TsNIIMash).

"These problems have been largely caused by the ageing of the production, technological and testing base of the sector’s enterprises," he was quoted as saying on the website of TsNIIMash, which is the head research institute of Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).

The work of rocket and space enterprises is also affected by the failure of some organizations to comply with the requirements of norm-setting documents, the lower level of the ground-based experimental facilities for developing products and the slack technological discipline of personnel, the expert said.

This work is also affected by the shortage of skilled workforce, the low quality of feedstock, materials and components, the expert said.

The quality of products is also affected by the insufficiently effective system of management, failure of the regulatory and methodological support for the quality of products to comply with modern standards and lower efficiency of the control system, the expert said.

"Currently, in order to fulfill a decision by the Federal Space Agency’s board, a system has been established to ensure the quality and reliability of rocket and space products, including management bodies, parent R&D organizations, enterprises and organizations of the rocket and space industry," the expert said.

Two space launches carried out by Russia in 2015 ended in failure.

A Proton-M carrier rocket with a Mexican satellite malfunctioned and crashed after its launch on April 16.

On April 28, a Progress M-27M space freighter was injected into a wrong orbit, was damaged and eventually drowned in the Pacific Ocean.

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