A Russian Proton-M carrying three GLONASS navigation system satellites was destroyed in spectacular fashion shortly after lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 08.32 am local time on July 2. Moments after launch the vehicle veered off course, triggering the guidance system into a maneuver that appeared to over-correct the rocket, sending it into a shallow, arcing trajectory.
With all six RD-276 engines apparently still firing as normal, the Proton began slowly spiraling and flew horizontally for a moment before diving earthward. Seconds before impact the payload fairing and upper stage disintegrated (below)
Despite the impact and fireball no-one on the ground is thought to have been injured.
(all images Tsenki TV)
Three GLONASS satellites were previously lost in a failed launch of a Proton in December 2010. In this case a fueling error prevented the fourth stage making orbit, leading to the burn up of the vehicle over the Pacific.
An unmanned Russian Proton-M rocket has crashed just seconds after its launch from the Russian Baikonur facility in Kazakhstan.
Dramatic video footage broadcast by Russian TV shows the rocket break up before exploding into a fireball over the Baikonur cosmodrome.
Russia's Interfax news agency reported that up to 500 tonnes of poisonous rocket fuel may have been released and contaminated the crash site.
There were no reported injuries.
The rocket was carrying three satellites for Russia's Glonass (global) navigation satellite system.
It is not yet clear what caused the accident.
It is not the first incident involving a Proton-M rocket, according to the BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Moscow.
A similar rocket crashed shortly after it was launched six years ago, and in 2010 another rocket failed to put three navigation satellites into orbit.
A Russian Proton-M rocket carrying three Glonass satellites veered off course seconds after its launch from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur space center early Tuesday, crashing in a large fireball.
“There was an accident during the Proton-M launch. The rocket fell and exploded on the territory of the launch site,” a spokesman for Russia’s Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said.
There were no reported casualties, but officials said a cloud of poisonous smoke was generated by the rocket’s burning fuel and could spread across the local area. An emergency evacuation of personnel at the site was underway, according to Russian media reports.
The reasons for the crash were not immediately clear, but Kazakhstan’s Emergencies Ministry said a near instantaneous failure of the rocket’s first-stage engine was to blame.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a governmental commission to be formed to look into the causes of the crash and present a list of officials responsible for the accident, said his press secretary, Natalya Timakova.
Medvedev also instructed Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin to draw up a list of measures to tighten oversight of the space sector and prevent such accidents in the future, Timakova said.
All Proton-M launches have been suspended until the commission completes its work, after which a new launch schedule will be drawn up, Khrunichev representative Alexander Bobrenyov said.
The next launch of a Proton-M rocket, set for July 20, was to have put into orbit the Astra 2-T satellite, he said.
Rogozin warned that heads would roll after the commission completed its work and more far-reaching measures would be taken on an organizational level.
The current shape of the space and rocket industry is unacceptable “for further movement forward,” he said.
The financial losses caused by the Proton-M crash with three Glonass satellites will be no less than 6 billion rubles ($200 million), a space industry source privy to the situation told RIA Novosti.
“The losses from the previous [failed launch with a Briz-M booster] totaled 5.4 billion. Now I believe [the figure] will be higher. The costs of both the satellites and the Proton-M have increased since then,” the source said.
It is the second unsuccessful launch of a Proton-M carrier rocket with Russia's flagship Glonass positioning system on board in the last three years, and is another setback for Moscow’s space program.
The blast-off, which took place from Baikonur at 8:38 a.m. local time, was broadcast live by Rossiya-24 television channel. Footage shows the rocket rolling while flying a wobbly arc, beginning to disintegrate as it catches fire and then slamming into the ground in a large ball of flame and black smoke. The whole flight lasted 17 seconds, according to Roscosmos.
There was 600 tons of highly toxic heptyl, amyl and kerosene rocket fuels on board, according to Talgat Musabaev, the head of Kazakhstan’s space agency.
Rain was helping to contain the poisonous smoke given off from the burning fuel, but it “might” continue to drift, said the head of Kazakhstan’s Emergencies Ministry Vladimir Bozhko. The nearest town to the launch site is about 60 kilometers (36 miles) away and is rented and administered by Russia.
Work at the Baikonur space center will probably be suspended for the next two or three months because of contamination, a source in the Russian space industry told RIA Novosti. A scheduled launch of a Progress M-20M spacecraft from Baikonur on July 27 is likely to be delayed, the source added.
A commission headed by Roscosmos deputy head Alexander Lopatin will be set up to investigate the causes of the crash, a Roscosmos spokesman said.
The financial cost of the accident is unclear, but the rocket was insured for 6 billion rubles ($182 million) with the Russian Insurance Center, according an insurance industry source.
The accident is the latest in a series of problems that have plagued Russia’s Glonass program, which was begun during the Soviet era and reinvigorated with huge cash injections in the 2000s. The Kremlin’s answer to the US’ GPS system, Glonass has also been the center of several recent corruption scandals.
The Proton-M rocket has suffered a string of technical problems and launch failures. Three Glonass satellites were lost in December 2010 when a Proton-M veered off course and crashed in the Pacific Ocean. That incident was blamed on engineers overloading the rocket with fuel, said International Launch Services, the US firm that markets commercial Proton launches.
Another Proton-M mission was unsuccessful in December 2010 after a failure in the rocket’s upper-stage Briz engine, its maker Khrunichev said. A control system glitch caused the loss of a Proton-M in August 2011, while complications with a Briz engine led to the loss of a Proton mission a year later.
The partial failure of a Briz booster on a Proton rocket in December 2012 caused the payload to be put into an incorrect orbit, which was later corrected, Roscosmos said.
Quelle: RIA NOVOSTI
Crash of Proton to lead to very harsh conclusions - Rogozin
MOSCOW. July 2 (Interfax) - Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that the harsh conclusions would be made following the analysis of the crash of the Proton-M rocket with GLONASS satellites.
"I can say only one thing that very harsh conclusions will be made regarding this situation. And I would like to tell you that they will be related not only to the search of a guilty person or guilty parties but they will relate to a much more complex issue," Rogozin told reporters.
Tuesday crash suspends next Proton-M launch - source
BAIKONUR. July 2 (Interfax-AVN) - Preparations to launch a Proton-M rocket with the Astra-2E foreign satellite aboard have been suspended for the crash investigation period, a space industry source told Interfax
"Launch preparations have been put on hold until the inquiry into the Proton-M crash is over," he said.
For now, Proton-M launches have been planned for July 21 and August 14. Both are likely to be delayed.
In all, six Proton-M launches are anticipated before the end of this year.
The three Glonass satellites that were lost during Tuesday's botched Proton-M rocket launch were not insured, the Federal Space Agency said Wednesday.
The rocket fell apart seconds after lift-off, destroying the satellites, which were worth $75 million, and raining debris down over an area 2 1/2 kilometers from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan.
Only "unique" devices, such as the Fobos-Grunt space probe, are insured by the space agency, the report said.
The Federal Space Agency raised the issue of insuring satellites with the government in 2011 after a number of setbacks hit the space agency, including the loss of three Glonass-M satellites and the Fobos-Grunt in failed launches. But the draft bill is still being formulated by the agency, as is a resolution proposing subsidies for spacecraft insurance.
An operation like yesterday's launch costs 4.4 billion rubles ($134 million), according to information from the government's procurement website zakupki.gov. This would put the cost of insurance at about 480 million rubles — more than one-third of the space agency's entire insurance budget for 2012.
The space agency did not say how much money it received from the budget for satellite insurance in 2013. However, their insurance budget for 2012 fell from 1.97 billion rubles to 1.2 billion rubles, leading agency deputy head Anatoly Davydov to complain about a lack of support from the government.
The current insurance rate for satellites varies between 13 and 17 percent of their cost, and the rate rises with each unsuccessful launch, deputy CEO of insurance company Sogaz Nikolai Galushin said.
Quelle: The Moscow Times
Early launch is seen among the most probable causes of the recent Proton-M rocket failure and the loss of three satellites, a space industry source familiar with the investigation said.
The undisclosed source said a special commission continues to investigate the failure and several versions are being considered.
He said that one possible version is that, "for yet unknown reasons, an early start took place and resulted in the failure." The rocket's control system treated the early start as an emergency situation and started to divert the rocket away from the launch pad to a safer distance, as it is programmed to do, he said.
"This version now prevails," the source said, adding that other versions are also being carefully studied.
He said specialists are now working to decipher telemetry data, and it might take days to be completed.
The Proton-M rocket was carrying three Glonass navigation satellites when it exploded shortly after launch early on Tuesday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan. The accident is the second unsuccessful launch of a Proton-M rocket carrying satellites for Russia's flagship Glonass positioning system in the last three years.
Quelle: The Moscow Times
Proton-M crash was due to human error - source
MOSCOW. July 9 (Interfax-AVN) - The crash of a Proton-M rocket shortly after take off on July 2 was due to a human error, a source close to experts probing the accident told Interfax-AVN.
"The angular velocity sensors were wired up with the wrong polarity. Therefore, the rocket was orientated incorrectly," he said.
A Proton-M carrier rocket with three GLONASS-M satellites blasted off from Site 81 at the Baikonur cosmodrome on July 2. It veered off trajectory shortly after launch, exploded and fell apart. The wreckage came down not far from the launch site.
The project to make the rocket and three GLONASS satellites, and to prepare their launch cost Russia about 4.4 billion rubles.
Launch services with the use of Proton-M rockets and Briz-M upper stages are provided by the ILS company. Proton-M rockets and Briz-M upper stages are manufactured by the Khrunichev space center.