Proton rocket failure: Criminal charges possible

The July 2nd catastrophic failure of a Russian Proton-M roc continues to make waves amongst the local rocket-building community.  Reports suggest that key attitude sensors were inserted into the rocket upside down. Indeed, one wholly unconfirmed report says that the recovered parts showed signs of being forced  into position.  Russia’s deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin has denied these elements caused the disaster.

Nevertheless, the deputy head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Alexander Lopatin has stated that 3 of the 6 sensors were incorrectly fitted.

Rogozin’s office has now confirmed that all key personnel will have Polygraph tests, according to a Voice of Russia report, and that criminal charges are being considered.

International Launch Services (ILS), which markets the Proton rocket system to ‘western’ clients, says it expects to receive a summary report into the failure this week. ILS will then initiate its own Failure Review Board on August 9th, and would expect that body to report by August 16th.

SES is the first client standing in line for a renewed launch schedule using Proton vehicle, and has already said it hopes to be able to see Astra 2E launched during September.

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