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Two Russian space officials sacked over satellite loss

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 18:30

Moscow: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Wednesday dismissed two senior space industry officials and reprimanded the head of Russia`s space agency Roscosmos over the loss of three satellites.

The Glonass satellites were lost Dec 5 when a Proton-M carrier rocket veered off course and crashed in the Pacific Ocean. The rocket was equipped with a DM-3 booster, designed and manufactured by the Energia space corporation.

Anatoly Perminov heads Russia`s space agency Roscosmos.

Medvedev dismissed Energia`s chief rocket and space systems designer Vyacheslav Filin and deputy head of Roscosmos Viktor Remishevsky based on a report prepared by a state investigation commission.

The commission concluded that Energia experts miscalculated how much fuel was needed for the DM-3 rocket booster. As a result, the amount of oxidant exceeded the norm by 1-1.5 tonnes and excessive weight prevented the Proton-M rocket from putting the satellites into their calculated orbit.

In addition, the company`s management did not follow all the necessary pre-launch safety procedures and failed to spot the mistake in calculations, the commission reported.

The Dec 5 launch of the Proton-M carrier rocket was supposed to conclude the formation of Russia`s Glonass navigation system, a project similar to the US-made Global Positioning System.

Russia has switched on two reserve Glonass-M satellites in orbit to compensate for the ones that were lost. Roscosmos plans to complete the grouping of 24 operational Glonass satellites by April next year.


First Published: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 18:30
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