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RUSSIAN SPACE
Russian watchdog says country's space program is inefficient
by Staff Writers
Moscow (UPI) Jul 5, 2013


Premature launch said likely cause of Russian rocket failure
Moscow (UPI) Jul 5, 2013 - A premature launch may have caused the recent failure of a Proton-M rocket and the loss of three satellites, a Russian space industry source told RIA Novosti.

The source, requesting anonymity, said a special commission was investigating why the rocket carrying three Glonass navigation satellites veered off course and exploded shortly after launch Tuesday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

Several possible scenarios are being investigated, the source said.

"One of them is that, for yet unknown reasons, an early start took place and resulted in the failure. The control system treated it [the early start] as an emergency situation ... and started to divert the rocket away from the launch pad, to a safer distance, just the way it was programmed.

"This version [of events] now prevails," the source said, adding other possibilities are also being carefully studied.

The incident was the second unsuccessful launch of a Proton-M rocket carrying satellites for Russia's flagship Glonass GPS system in the last 3 years, RIA Novosti said.

Russia's space program is ineffective, with poor management of both its space activities and the funds budgeted for projects, a parliamentary watchdog said.

Poor management of space programs, projects, contracts and expenses made Russia's Federal Space Program inefficient despite the increase in its budget in the past three years, the parliament's Audit Chamber said in a statement.

The chamber's review found only 40 percent of the goals set by the Federal Space Program were achieved in 2010, 66.7 percent in 2011 and 73.3 percent last year, RIA Novosti reported Friday.

The chamber criticized the federal Roscosmos space agency for relegating control over major space projects, including the production and launches of Proton-M rockets, to individual state-run or private companies.

A Proton-M rocket carrying three Glonass GPS satellites exploded shortly after launch Tuesday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

"Roscosmos is among the biggest and least disciplined [of government agencies] that blatantly ignore regulatory requirements and best practices in state procurement orders," the Audit Chamber said.

"Harsh decisions" must be taken because Russia's rocket and space industry "cannot continue to exist in its current form," Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the defense and aerospace industry, said.

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