Russia may resume Proton launches after July failure

Aug. 5, 2013 at 7:40 PM
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MOSCOW, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Russia's Roscosmos space agency says it plans to resume launches of its Proton-M rockets, with five scheduled before the end of the year.

It will end a freeze on all scheduled launches after a Proton-M with navigation satellites exploded shortly after liftoff from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan July 2, RIA Novosti reported Monday.

The launches could resume in September when "all necessary work will have been completed," Roscosmos deputy head Alexander Lopatin said.

The first Proton to be launched would carry a foreign satellite, Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin said.

"It is possible to conduct one launch in three weeks. So there will be four or five of them [till the end of the year]," Popovkin told Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is in charge of the space and defense industries.

Quality control on the systems side of Proton construction, conducted up until 2010 by Defense Ministry representatives, would be supervised by the satellite makers from now on, Popovkin said.

"Increasing quality control along with resuming inspections by military representatives must bring positive results," he said.

Last week Medvedev reprimanded Popovkin for "improperly fulfilling his professional duties."

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