An expensive Proton rocket launcher has been damaged during rail transportation from its Moscow production facility en-route to the giant Baikonur cosmodrome, according to a press statement from manufacturers Krunichev.
Proton rockets are needed to launch two upcoming missions. Mexico’s Satmex-8, for Satelites Mexicanos on December 28th, and another is needed even sooner for Gazprom Space Systems (the Yamal-402 craft) scheduled for launch on December 8th.
The entire Proton-M rocket is being replaced, reported Russia’s RAI Novosti news agency, although it is not yet known whether this will delay either of the planned launches. RAI Novosti says the replaced rocket has already been delivered to Baikonur.