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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: May 19, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
'Moral Degeneration' Responsible for Russian Space Program Failures, Says Vice Premier Rogozin
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The reason Russia's Proton-M rocket recently failed is due to the "moral degeneration" the top managers of the space program, Vice Premier Dmitry Rogozin told the State Duma, reports.

Rogozin, a hardliner who is in charge of defense and space denounced the Russian space leadership in a meeting of the State Duma today:

"With such degeneration in the leadership of the enterprises," there's no surprise at such a high degree of accidents, " said Rogozin who said that "space bosses have long gone into their own space" in whose opinion "the space bosses have long ago gone into their own space." The vice premier expressed those that the force of "legal gravitation will lead them [those responsible for the failure of the Progress and the Proton] to where they should be," RIA Novosti quoted him as saying.

Because the same third-stage rockets have been involved in past accidents Rogozin thinks the state commissions that have investigated past failures have not found the true reason.

"That is, there is some kind of structural disease and it is a matter of honor to find this disease now," said Rogozin.

Judging from the photos posted by the Defense Ministry, Rogozin's speech at the Duma did not appear to be very well attended by members.


Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has called for the creation of a commission to investigate why the Proton-M failed, reported.

The Proton-M was launched from Baikonur on May 16 but immediately failed. According to a report from Interfax citing an unnamed source, a possible reason for the failure was that third-stage navigational engines failed.

As New Science wrote, the Proton-M has had a string of failures.

Thankfully no one was hurt or injured in the accident, but an expensive telecommunications satellite known as MexSat-1 was lost. Manufactured by Boeing, the satellite had been delivered as part of a $1 billion contract ordered by the Mexican government. It had been intended as a key component in the country's national security communications infrastructure.

About 10 per cent of Proton-M launches are now said to have failed. As an investigation into the latest incident gets under way, further questions will be raised about the reliability of Russia's space operations.

Russia's Progress spaceship went out of orbit on its way to make deliveries to the International Space Station, then disintegrated into the atmosphere when it fell back to earth earlier this month.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick