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Unsuccessful December-Launch Attempt Grounded Russian Proton-M Rocket for another 3.5 Months

Russian Proton-M Rocket

Russia’s most reliable and time-honored Proton-M rocket – a heavy lift vehicle that has been used to inject military and civilian satellites since last 16 years will remain suspended for extra three and a half months, confirmed Dmitry Rogozin, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia. In a press meet, the Russian PM said Saturday, due to the unsuccessful take-off attempt of the launch vehicle back in December, the launcher will remain grounded for another 3.5 months.

The announcement was made throughout an official visit of P.M Dmitry Rogozin to a Russian factory, which is responsible for supplying the power systems and engines for Russia’s most powerful equipped rocket system. Before two months, in December 2016, an International Space Station-bound cargo spacecraft, being transmitted on board a Proton-M rocket blasted off only just minutes after launch, leaving the Russian space agency with the loss of million dollars. However, after a two-month-long inspection, the technical glitches in the third-stage engine are found to be responsible for the unexpected blast and for resolving and fixing the issues, Russian government instructed the Russian Space agency to keep the rocket grounded for extra 3.5 months.

According to the announcements made by the Russian officials, “The explosion was triggered by a defective third-stage engine. The system malfunction in the engine caused the massive explosion of the Proton-M rocket in December and the threats of the explosion are also expected to may happen during the future launches. After an investigation, the defective third-stage engine was traced back to the Voronezh plant, which is the main supplier of engines to Proton-M rockets. As a result, the Prime Minister of the country official ordered the space agency to hold back the future launch events for another three and half months. Moreover, because of the huge explosion, the head of Voronezh plant was also allegedly forced to resign from the post last week.

Now, the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos is focusing more on addressing all those glitches in its most powerful launcher and rearranging the launch events of Proton-M Rockets with utmost perfections, in the coming days. However, for now, the agency has called off all the power systems of Proton-M Rockets. After carrying out some additional technological checks and inspections, the Russian space agency will reschedule the launch of its most powerful communications satellite. However, for next three and half months, the rockets will be grounded.

According to the reports of Russia’s state-run Sputnik news agency, “The launches of Proton-M will remain grounded for next 3.5 months and after the conduction of some extra technical checks, the launches will be resumed. The Russian Space agency and government officials have already summoned the Voronezh Mechanical Plant for providing the economic aid for technical re-equipment of the rocket. However, all those persons, who are responsible for the technology and certificate replacement, will be strictly penalized. Three Proton-M rockets will be taken apart, and the engines of the second and third stages will be completely replaced with the new modules.”

About the author

Alex Canfield

Born in California, brought up in New York, Alex Canfield who contributes as an editor is best known for his research on astronomy and his love for the satellites.

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