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Launch of Russian Proton-M carrier rocket postponed
by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Dec 27, 2011

A preemptive shutdown for extra checks?

The launch of a Russian Proton-M carrier rocket with a Dutch telecommunications satellite SES-4 (NSS-14) onboard was called off on Monday due to "technical problems", a spokesman for the Khrunichev State Research and Production Center said.

He said the new date for launch was being discussed. He did not elaborate on the cause of the delay.

The launch would have been the 70th commercial launch of a Proton carrier rocket since 1995 and the 10th launch of this type of carrier rocket this year.

The SES-4 satellite, built by U.S. company Space Systems/Loral for the Dutch operator Ses World Skies, is designed to provide various satellite services to customers in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Latin America.

Russia has experienced a number of launch mishaps in the past 13 months, including the crash of a Meridian dual purpose satellite shortly after take-off last week. That incident led the head of Russia's Roscosmos space agency to say the industry was "in crisis."

The rocket failures come on top of the loss of Phobos-Grunt, Russia's most ambitious planetary mission in decades. It became stuck in Earth orbit after its launch in November and is expected to fall back to Earth in mid-January.

related report
ILS Proton Launch OF SES-4 Satellite Postponed

Baikonur, Kazakhstan (SPX) Dec 27, 2011 The launch of an ILS Proton launch vehicle with the SES-4 satellite was postponed for approximately 25 days for technical reasons associated with the avionics system of the launch vehicle's Breeze M upper stage.

The additional time is needed due to the required destacking and replacement of the affected avionics unit.

The satellite is being launched for SES of Luxembourg and was built by Space Systems/Loral.

The delay was called after Khrunichev engineers at the launch site received an anomalous telemetry reading on the Breeze M upper stage during preflight testing.

The vehicle and satellite remain in a safe configuration at the launch site.

Source: RIA Novosti

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Russian satellite crashes into Siberia after launch
Moscow (AFP) Dec 23, 2011
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