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The competition heats up: Russia has decided to accelerate use of its heavy Angara rocket by launching a commercial payload on its next launch in 2016.
They had initially planned to do more test flights. The technical problems with Proton, combined with increased competition from SpaceX and others, is forcing them to move at a less leisurely pace.
In the meantime, they have concluded their investigation into the Progress/Soyuz rocket failure, issuing an incredibly vague press release that only stated the following:
The damage to the ship during its abnormal separation from the third stage of the Soyuz-2-1a launch vehicle resulted from a particular property of the joint use of the cargo spacecraft and the launch vehicle. This design property was related to frequency and dynamic characteristics of joint vehicles. This design property was not fully accounted for during the development of the rocket and spacecraft complex.
Limitations on further flights of the Soyuz-2-1a rocket with other spacecraft had not been found.
It sounds to me as if they don’t know exactly what caused the abnormal separation between the rocket and the spacecraft, and that they have decided to move on regardless.
I think it would be very wise for the U.S. to get its own manned spacecraft operational as fast as possible.