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Express-AM4 Launch Failure Inter-Agency Commission Concludes Investigations
by Staff Writers
Reston, VA (SPX) Aug 31, 2011

File image: Express-AM4

The Inter-Agency Commission has completed its investigation of the off-nominal orbital injection of Express-AM4 launched on 18 August from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Based on its activities and analysis of the available data, the Commission has concluded that in the process of formalizing the Breeze M operating timeline, the time interval to manipulate the gyro platform into position was made unduly short. This resulted in an off-nominal orientation of the Breeze M and, as the consequence, in injecting the SC into an off-design orbit.

All other Breeze M systems have performed within specs.

Based on the conclusions of the Inter-Agency Commission investigations, the ban on Proton M / Breeze M ground processing has been lifted, and appropriate recommendations have been prepared, to be implemented prior to the upcoming launches.

The Head of Roscosmos has issued instructions to update the Proton launch schedule for the remaining four months of the year.

Briz-M upper-stage fault behind Proton-M launch failure
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Aug 31 - A malfunction of the Briz-M upper-stage rocket reportedly caused the failure of a Proton-M rocket launch two weeks ago, Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Tuesday.

On August 18, a Russian Proton-M rocket lost the prized Express-AM4 satellite that was designed to provide digital television and secure government communications for Siberia and the Far East.

The satellite was placed in the wrong orbit because of the malfunction of the Briz-M upper-stage rocket, the Roscosmos commission said.

The Briz-M manufactured by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center has had five failures over the 12-year history of operation.

The Russian aerospace industry has faced a series of misfortunes over the last nine months. In December, 2010, a Proton-M booster rocket failed to put three Glonass-M satellites into orbit. The launch of the Rokot booster rocket, carrying a military geodesic satellite Geo-IK-2 ended in failure in February.

After the first two mishaps, Roscosmos's chief, Anatoly Perminov, was forced to resign.

One week after the Express-AM4 went off course, a Soyuz-U booster malfunctioned, preventing the Progress M-12M cargo spacecraft from reaching orbit. Its debris landed in Gorny Altai, Russia.

Source: RIA Novosti

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