by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Jan 28, 2017
Russia on Saturday said it had ordered a full check of engines used on its key Proton rocket after a cargo ship crashed last month due to engine disintegration and an inspection revealed factory violations.
A plant making engines for both the Soyuz and Proton rockets had workers "switch technology and documentation," Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said, vowing to punish those responsible.
Earlier reports said engine parts used on the second and third stages of the widely-used Proton rocket had been swapped for cheaper variants.
"A necessary check of engines with possible technical defects will be made," Roscosmos space agency said, adding that the launch schedule will be "coordinated" with the verifications.
Rogozin said launches using the Proton rocket would resume in three and a half months.
He did not mention the Soyuz rockets, which are used for manned flights, particularly the next ISS mission set for late March.
The Progress freighter crashed in Siberia after it failed to reach orbit in early December due to a malfunction during third-stage separation.
A commission appointed to investigate the matter concluded earlier this month that the malfunction was caused by the breakup of the third-stage engine, either due to "foreign materials" getting inside or an "assembly fault".
The cargo ship was carried by the Soyuz rocket, but the same engine is used on the Proton rocket, according to its maker, Voronezh.
A report by Kommersant daily said that all engines built for the third and second stages of the Proton rocket had been recalled, while a test showed that a key heat-resistant part made of material containing precious metals had been switched during assembly.
It was not immediately clear whether Soyuz rocket engines would also be checked or recalled.
The chief of the Voronezh plant quit earlier this month "for reasons of unsatisfactory work and product quality."
The launch in December of the EchoStar-21 communications satellite by a Proton has already been delayed.
Russia is currently the only country executing manned space flights to the ISS.
Its space industry had suffered a string of setbacks and launch failures in recent years, while corruption scandals have plagued its new space port in the Far East.
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|