Two satellites, Eutelsat 5WB and Northrop Grumman’s MEV-1 space tub, were due to be launched on a Russian Proton rocket on September 30th. The launch was postponed on September 24th with official sources blaming a possible electrical issue and which needed additional checks. So far, so normal.
However, the truth – if Russian reports are to be believed – is much more serious and could have had catastrophic consequences. The reports from Russian news service TASS state that an inspection found that the MEV-1 satellite was “incorrectly attached” within the rocket’s fairing.
The TASS report said: “Specialists from Roscosmos [Russia’s space corporation] and MOKB Mars [manufacturer of Briz-M control systems] have established the reason of malfunction. The problem emerged because the US spacecraft was not attached correctly to the upper stage.”
The report continued: “The Briz-M control system for the upper stage is operating in the routine mode, adding that “it may take several days to fix the problem with the MEV-1 satellite.”