Russia Loses $275M Satellite in Latest Rocket Failure

Friday, 16 May 2014 06:46 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A Russian rocket carrying a $275 million telecommunications satellite failed and burned up shortly after launch on Friday, the latest in a series of setbacks for Russia's once-pioneering space industry.

It was the second failure for Russia's workhorse Proton-M rocket in less than a year, and the second time that it had failed to deliver a European satellite intended to provide advanced telecoms and Internet access to remote parts of Russia, after the last one crashed shortly after launch in 2011.

Friday's unmanned mission went awry when the engine on the third stage of the Proton-M booster rocket failed, Oleg Ostapenko, head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos, told Russian news agencies. He said the precise cause was unknown.

The failure occurred at an altitude of 160 km (100 miles), about nine minutes after the early-morning lift-off from the Russian-leased Baikonur facility in Kazakhstan.

The state-run RIA quoted Ostapenko as saying that the rocket and all debris had burned up in the atmosphere: "We can say with certainty that nothing reached Earth."

However, Russian media said some debris may have fallen into the Pacific or been scattered over Siberia and Russia's Far East. No casualties or damage were reported on the ground.

The lost Express AM4R satellite, worth more than 200 million euros ($275 million), was described by its maker Astrium, a unit of the European aerospace group Airbus, as one of the most powerful satellites built in Europe.

Its loss delays a number of commercial projects by three to four years.

"It's a heavy blow, of course. And the thing is that our workhorse rocket - our most powerful and the most-used rocket - has such a bad record," Ivan Moiseyev, head of the Russian-based Institute of Space Policy think tank, told Kommersant-FM radio.

He said the rocket had a 7 percent failure rate, and its unreliability was making it harder for Russia to compete in the multibillion-dollar global satellite launch industry, giving a boost to its European rival Arianespace and the American newcomer SpaceX.

"It's a very unsuccessful picture on the whole and, if you compare it with our main competitors, with Europe, their last accident was 12 years ago," Moiseyev said.

Last July, three navigation satellites worth about $200 million were lost when the Proton-M rocket crashed near the launch pad shortly after take-off.

That accident strained relations between Kazakhstan and Russia and led Kazakhstan to temporarily ban Proton launches from Baikonur.

State-run Rossiya-24 television said all launches had been suspended from Kazakhstan after Friday's failure. ($1 = 0.7291 Euros)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Cantor Says Goodbye, Calls for Strong Foreign Policy

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 12:36 PM

Eric Cantor exited the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives with a plea for a "strong" foreign policy and a c . . .

Brennan Apologizes For CIA Monitoring of Senate Computers

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 12:18 PM

CIA Director John Brennan is apologizing to Senate intelligence committee leaders after his inspector general found that . . .

Ted Cruz Puts Boehner's House Border Bill in Jeopardy

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 08:18 AM

The House leadership is planning a vote Thursday on a border security bill to address the immigration crisis, but conser . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved