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Proton failure blamed on third stage engine malfunction
Posted: Sat, May 30, 2015, 10:50 AM ET (1450 GMT)
Proton launch of Centenario, May 2015 (ILS) The Russian space agency Roscosmos said Friday that the failure of a Proton launch earlier in the month was caused by the failure of the engine in the rocket's third stage. Roscosmos said "increased vibration loads" caused by an imbalance in the engine's turbopump caused the engine to fail, dooming the rocket and its payload. A similar flaw caused the loss of a Proton launched in 1988. The investigation also found "a number of deficiencies" in the quality management system at Khrunichev, the manufacturer of the Proton. A schedule for the next Proton launch will be announced in June, Roscosmos said. The May 16 failure destroyed the Boeing-built Centenario for the Mexican government and further damaged the reputation of both the Proton as a viable commercial launch vehicle, and the Russian space industry in general.
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