Russia's Roscosmos plans to launch two more Protons this year

16 May 2014, 14:45

Russia’s Roscosmos plans to launch two more Protons this year

The Russian federal space agency Roscosmos planned two more launches of Proton-M rockets for 2014, the agency’s chief Oleg Ostapenko told ITAR-TASS on Friday.

“Two more launches are scheduled for this year. A launch of Glonass satellites is planned, but if necessary. The second launch will be with an astrophysical satellite,” he said.

The Roscosmos chief noted there would be no launches until the cause of the emergency that occurred on Friday was established.

An interdepartmental group was formed to investigate it. It was headed by a deputy director-general of the Central Machine Building Research Institute, Ostapenko said. The group was to present a report by mid-June, and then a decision would be made what to do further, he added.

The lost telecommunication satellite was insured for its full cost, he said without giving specific figures.
The Proton rocket carrying an advanced telecommunications satellite failed to reach its designated orbit and crashed shortly after its launch on Friday.

The rocket was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 01:42 am Moscow time on Friday (09:42 pm GMT on Thursday) but an “emergency” prevented it from coming into orbit, Roscosmos said.

The problem arose with the third stage about nine minutes after the launch at an altitude of 161 km, and parts of the satellite may have burned up in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

No casualties or other damage were reported.

Roscosmos chief Oleg Ostapenko told ITAR-TASS on Friday no parts of the rocket, the upper stage and the satellite reached Earth. “According to our preliminary information, nothing has reached Earth,” he said.

When the emergency occurred, the rocket was over China, he added.

As was reported earlier, the Proton-M with the Express-AM4R communication satellite burned up in the atmosphere over the Pacific.

The failure to orbit the satellite was caused by malfunction of the steering engine of the third stage, 540 seconds after the launch.

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