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.