Russia postpones Proton launch again


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Originally scheduled for October, International Launch Services (ILS), the Russian company that manages its commercial launches, has once again postponed the next Proton rocket launch.

“The new launch date is December 2016,” the website says. The reasons for the postponement have not yet been announced.

As reported earlier, Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos had rescheduled the launch from October 10 to November 23. It was initially scheduled for late June, then postponed to August 29 and then to October 10.

More significantly, there have been no Proton launches since a June 9 launch were the second stage of the rocket inexplicably shut down prematurely. The Russians have been conducting an investigation, but have released absolutely no information about what they have found

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2 comments

  • Edward

    I suspect that this is a sign that Russia, or at least ILS, is getting serious about quality and reliability.

    Space News recently had an article, an interview, which mentioned this topic:
    http://www.spacenewsmag.com/feature/ils-and-khrunichev-sharpen-protons-commercial-edge/
    But because of the new dedication to reliability, that anomaly investigation [of the June 9 launch] was turned over to a Russian State commission — much in the same way as would have happened if the launch had been a failure. It’s the same process. That process has taken a little longer than we might have expected originally. But the investigation has been completed. I don’t have the details yet, but it was isolated to a second-stage plumbing attachment. … So overall, the process I is more involved and more detailed than it would have been in the past, and this is because there’s a new dedication to creating a reliable Proton for our customers.

    Although I suspect that these launch delays are not due to changes needed after the June anomaly, it seems to me that they are working to make sure that everything is right, before conducting another launch.

    I have long felt that the Russians took a lackadaisical attitude toward safety and reliability, but I now believe that they are at the very least trying to improve in these areas.

  • LocalFluff

    Edward, That would fit with the recent reformation of the Russian space industry.

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