Proton/Breeze-M Cleared To Resume Flying

Breeze-M Upper Stage (Credits: Khrunichev).

A Russian state board of inquiry announced on August 30 that the cause of the August 18 failure of a Proton rocket upper stage has been found. According to the Russian space agency Roscosmos, the Breeze-M failure was due to a badly programmed sequence for its guidance system, which resulted in an off-nominal orientation of the upper stage, injecting the Express-AM4 satellite into the wrong orbit. The announcement stressed that the performance of other Breeze-M flight control systems has been within specs. Roscosmos stated that corrective actions have been taken, clearing the vehicle to resume operations: the launch schedule will be announced shortly.

The Express-AM4 satellite, built by Astrium, is currently stuck in a useless orbit. In the days following the launch, Roscosmos failed to make contact with the satellite, which has not fully deployed.

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Andrea Gini

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Andrea Gini is a content strategy consultant specialized in companies of the space sector. He is founder of Space Safety Magazine, where he held the position of Editor-in-Chief until March 2015. Between 2011 and 2013 he worked in the European Space Agency in the Independent Safety Office, which overviews the utilization of the International Space Station. He previously worked as Software Developer, IT Consultant, and trainer of Java-related technologies. Andrea holds a BSc and an MSc in computer science from the University of Milano, a Master in Communication of Science from the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste and a MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University.