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Russian rocket crash caused by programme error

A Proton-M rocket at Baikonur. File photo.

MOSCOW (BNS): A programming error may have caused a rocket carrying three Russian navigation satellites to fail to reach orbit, a Russian space agency source told the RIA Novosti news agency on Monday.

The DM-3 booster with three GLONASS-M satellites fell into a non-navigational area of the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, the spokesman stated, adding that a probe into the matter has already been opened.

"According to preliminary information, there were no technical problems with the Proton itself during lift-off. A number of specialists thinks that programme errors in Proton's onboard computer system led to the engines failing to function as normal, giving the rocket an extra boost and taking it into the faulty trajectory," the news report quoted the source as saying.

An Interagency Board has been established to investigate the failure of the Proton-M launch. The Board comprises representatives of the Ministry of Defense, Russian Federal Space Agency, companies and organisations of the industry, as reported by the Khrunichev Space Centre.

The Sunday launch was the 11th Proton launch of this year. The previous ten launches, including two that positioned Glonass navigation satellites, were successful.

Russia currently has a total of 26 GLONASS series spacecraft in orbit, but three of them are not operational.


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