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Proton failure: ‘Turbopump to blame’

A somewhat vague report from Russia’s Roscosmos space agency said the May 16th catastrophic failure of a Proton rocket was caused by a failed turbopump “under the stress of high temperatures”.

There was no explanation as to why this failed turbopump was any different to others used by the Proton rocket system.

Roscosmos said “inconsistencies in the [Proton] quality control system” played a part in the failure and would be reinforced.

An insurance claim of $390 million has been submitted to cover the lost satellite and its launch costs.

There was no information from Roscosmos as to when the Proton rocket would return to service.

Satellite operators waiting in line for Proton to return to work include Inmarsat of London, Turksat and Eutelsat which has two satellites awaiting launch.

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