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ROCKET SCIENCE
Fuel Pipe to Blame for Proton Launch Failure
by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Aug 13, 2012


File image.

Monday's failed satellite launch was caused by a fault in a fuel pipe, Kommersant daily reported on Thursday, citing a source in the government inquiry.

The source said telemetry showed that pressure in the Briz-M upper stage fell sharply following the vehicle's second burn, causing the Proton-M rocket, carrying two communications satellites, to spin out of control.

The launch was scheduled to utilize four burns of the Briz-M to put Indonesia's Telkom-3 and Russia's Express MD2 satellites into orbit.

The Briz-M's fuel pipe might have been "mechanically damaged" or held some foreign objects, the inquiry source said.

The failed launch has prompted Russian space agency Roscosmos to suspend all Proton-M launches until the findings of the inquiry are returned.

Roscosmos declined to comment on the cause of the failure when contacted by RIA Novosti.

Last year, a malfunction of a Briz-M booster led to the loss of the Express-AM4 telecommunication satellite.

Source: RIA Novosti

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