Russia once again postpones next Proton launch


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Russia has once again postponed the next launch of the Proton rocket, the first since the June 9 launch where the 2nd stage engine cut off prematurely.

The launch of a Proton-M carrier rocket with an EchoStar 21 satellite from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan has been delayed over the need to hold additional checks of the rocket’s systems and acceleration unit, Russia’s Khrunichev Space Center reported on Friday. The Khrunichev Space Center is the producer of Proton carrier rockets.

I wonder if International Launch Services (ILS), the Russian company that handles Russia’s international commercial launches, is going to lose a customer now, as SpaceX did when it delayed its next launch until 2017.

According to Russianspaceweb, they have figured out what went wrong on June 9, and have been taking corrective actions. The cause of the new delay however, as well as its the fix, appear to be very unclear.

By December 23, the satellite had already been integrated with the launch vehicle, when an unspecified technical program required to postpone the mission until January 2017, at the earliest. Independent sources said that the launch vehicle would have to be disassembled and one of its stages returned to Moscow, but representatives of the International Launch Services, ILS, which manages the mission, said that no such action would be required and the launch had been postponed by a “logistical” issue.

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