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Britain's commercial space project delayed due to Russian rocket failure
by Staff Writers
London (XNA) May 21, 2015

File image.

The Britain's biggest commercial space project has been delayed for several months due to the recent failed launch of Russia's Proton rocket, said Inmarsat, the company behind the project, on Monday.

The failed launch of the Proton Breeze M rocket took place on Saturday last week. The Proton was carrying a Mexican satellite. Six Protons and their payloads have now been lost in the past five years.

This incident involving the failed Proton launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome "will inevitably delay our launch plans for our third Global Xpress satellite," said Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, in a statement.

Inmarsat's third Global Xpress (GX) satellite, an integral part of the company's ambitious GX satellite network, was due to be launched by a Proton rocket next month.

GX satellites are among the biggest commercial telecom satellites in operation today. The GX network, costing more than 1.6 billion U.S. dollars to build and launch, requires a minimum of three satellites in orbit to provide global coverage. The project plans to enhance communications for ships, planes, the armed forces, and broadcasting companies.

Pearce also said this was the third time his company's GX project had suffered launch delays because of Proton launch failures.

A Russian state commission has begun the process of determining the reasons for the failure. In parallel, Inmarsat will also form its own review board to analyze the state commission's final report and corrective action plan. Further decisions will not be made until the board complete its review.

The first two GX satellites have been launched successfully on Proton rockets. A fourth GX satellite, intended as a spare, is being built by manufacturer Boeing.

Pearce said the fourth satellite remains on schedule for completion in mid-2016, with a potential launch in the second half of 2016 by SpaceX, a U.S. private launch company.

Inmarsat is the world's largest mobile satellite services operator.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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