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Russia's space agency names cause of Proton rocket crash

June 11, 2014, 12:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW
A Proton-M rocket that blasted off from the Baikonur space site in Kazakhkstan with an Express-AM4R satellite burned down in the thick layers of the atmosphere
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Proton-M rocket

Proton-M rocket

© EPA/ROSCOSMOS / HANDOUT

MOSCOW, June 11. /ITAR-TASS/. The May 16 crash of the Proton space rocket was due to a failed bearing in the steering engine’s turbo pump, the chief of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Oleg Ostapenko, told ITAR-TASS.

“The final version agrees with the preliminary findings made at the first stage of the inter-departmental probe. Telemetry and analytical information indicate that apparently a bearing in the turbo pump failed. We proceed from this in our further work to identify and localize problems that may occur at the moment of the next launch.”

Asked when another Proton rocket may be launched, Ostapenko said the date remained unclear yet.

“When we are through with the checks, we shall decide on a launch date,” he said.

The Roscosmos chief’s press-secretary Irina Zubareva has said that “all findings of the inter-departmental inquiry have been submitted to the government already.”

A Proton-M rocket that blasted off from the Baikonur space site in Kazakhkstan with an Express-AM4R satellite burned down in the thick layers of the atmosphere. The satellite and the Briz-M booster filed to separate from the rocket. The satellite was lost. Earlier versions blamed the crash on problems in the third stage’s steering engine.

Earlier, a source at the Baikonur space site told TASS a scheduled launch of the Proton-M rocket with the Russian re-broadcasting satellite Luch, due on June 20, was postponed till July 8.

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