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Top Russian rocket officials dismissed

August 27, 2013

By Chris Forrester

The catastrophic Proton rocket failure on July 2nd is still reverberating in Russia. Two independent studies on the crash have found that some key attitude sensors were inserted upside-down. Indeed, some reports suggest that the valuable components were allegedly forced into position.

Three high-ranking officials have paid the price.  Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told journalists that Russia’s Khrunichev State Research & Production Centre’s deputy director-general, Aleksandr Kobzar, the director of the assembling branch, Valery Grekov, and the chief of the technical control department, Mikhail Lebedev, have all been dismissed.

Rogozin also said a number of other officials at the centre have received administrative punishments, adding that the investigation of the accident will continue until late September.

The Proton-M rocket was carrying three Russian GPS satellites, but the crash also grounded all other Proton launches while the investigations took place. The first of a series of resumed flights will be the launch of an Astra satellite on September 15, some 10 weeks after the failure.

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