Plesetsk, Russia: The launch of Glonass-M navigation satellite has been postponed for an additional equipment check, announced Russia’s Space Forces commander, Gen. Oleg Ostapenko. He said, “Presumably, satellite will be launched in early September.”
The launch of the satellite was scheduled for August 26, 2011 from the Plesetsk Space Center in northern Russia by Soyuz-2.1B carrier rocket. The announcement came shortly after Russia lost its second spacecraft in less than a week and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered thorough quality control checks of all aerospace equipment.
Recently, Progress M-12M space freighter fell in South Siberia’s Altai Republic after failing to separate from its Soyuz-U carrier rocket, the first loss of a Progress freighter in the history of Russia’s space industry. The third stage rocket engine was blamed for the spacecraft loss. This launch failure follows an unsuccessful attempt to orbit the Express AM-4 telecommunications satellite, which failed to separate from the Proton-M carrier rocket on August 18, 2011, and could not reach the designated location.
The spacecraft loss, however, will not affect the first Soyuz-ST launch from the Kourou Space Center in French Guiana scheduled for this October, Arianespace CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said.
“In principle, the launch date of October 20 is confirmed, because the Soyuz being used for Galileo is not impacted by yesterday’s failure,” Le Gall added. “The problem that occurred yesterday is linked to a third-stage motor, and the Soyuz model that we will be using uses a different third stage.”
Source: RIA Novosti