Russia dismisses aerospace executives over rocket launch failure

Aug. 26, 2013 at 4:27 PM

MOSCOW, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Three senior managers at a Russian aerospace company have been dismissed over a Proton-M launch failure last month, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.

The rocket built by the Khrunichev space company, with three GPS satellites aboard, topped over and crashed to the ground in flames shortly after launch July 2.

The rocket and satellites were worth around $135 million.

An investigation by Russia's Roscosmos space agency determined the crash occurred because angular velocity sensors were installed upside down in the Proton rocket, causing it to veer off course.

Rogozin said Friday the deputy general director of quality control and management at Khrunichev, Alexander Kobzar, the head of final assembly, Valery Grekov, and the chief of the technical control department, Mikhail Lebedev, had been dismissed for "inappropriate fulfillment of duties during the production and preparation of the Proton-M."

A special state commission will present a final report on the Proton-M crash "in about a month, sometime after September 20," he added.

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