Two Russian space officials sacked over satellite loss

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Moscow, Dec 29 (IANS/RIA Novosti) 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.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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