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President Medvedev Sacks Space Officials Over Satellite Loss

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
by Staff Writers
Moscow, Russia (RIA Novosti) Dec 31, 2010
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev dismissed two senior space industry officials and reprimanded the head of Russia's space agency Roscosmos, Anatoly Perminov on Wednesday over the recent loss of three Glonass satellites.

The satellites were lost on December 5 when a Proton-M carrier rocket veered off course and crashed in the Pacific Ocean. The rocket was equipped with a DM-3 booster, designed and manufactured by the Energia space corporation.

Medvedev dismissed Energia's chief rocket and space systems designer Vyacheslav Filin and deputy head of Roscosmos Viktor Remishevsky based on a report prepared by a state investigation commission.

The commission concluded that Energia experts miscalculated how much fuel was needed for the DM-3 rocket booster. As a result, the amount of oxidant exceeded the norm by 1-1.5 tons and excessive weight prevented the Proton-M rocket from putting the satellites into their calculated orbit.

In addition, the company's management did not follow all the necessary pre-launch safety procedures and failed to spot the mistake in calculations, the commission reported.

The December 5 launch of the Proton-M carrier rocket was supposed to conclude the formation of Russia's Glonass navigation system, a project similar to the U.S.-made Global ositioning System.

Russia has switched on two reserve Glonass-M satellites in orbit to compensate for the ones that were lost. Roscosmos plans to complete the grouping of 24 operational Glonass satellites by April next year.

Source: RIA Novosti

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