Source: RIA Novosti
Russia will delay launches of military spacecraft this year because of a failed satellite launch last month, a top defense official said on Tuesday [September 4].
The delays will be “insignificant,” Russian Space Forces Commander Lt. Gen. Oleg Ostapenko said.
Two telecommunications satellites were lost on August 7 due to a failure in the Russian Proton-M rocket’s upper stage.
Ostapenko said the launches will be put on hold until the findings of a government probe into the incident are fully looked into, as the Briz-M upper stages are also used to hoist military spacecraft into orbit.
Several senior space officials have been sacked over the failure.
A Proton-M rocket lifted off from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on Monday August 6th 2012 at 19:31 UTC carrying 2 communications satellites. The second stage failed to operate. The Russian Space Agency said that the engine’s malfunction stranded the Russian Express MD-2 and Indonesia’s Telkom-3 satellites in a low orbit where they can’t be recovered and can be considered lost. Here is a video of the ill-fated launch: