Roscosmos Returns 3 Proton-M Rockets to Manufacturer due to Defective Parts

Russian space industry officials announced that the telecommunications satellites Express-80 and Express-103 launch will be postponed for 30 July, explaining that the Proton-M carrier rocket needed for the launch won’t be repaired earlier due to defective parts.

“The repair schedule at the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre stipulates sending the Proton-M to the Baikonur cosmodrome at the start of this summer,” the official said.

Three Proton-M heavy-lift launch vehicles designated for launching satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome were returned to the Khrunichev Centre in Moscow so that low-quality parts can be replaced, Sputnik News writes.

The defective parts, produced between 2015 and 2016, were discovered in March due to checks under a new quality control system introduced by Roscosmos.

According to the Russian Satellite Communications Company, the Express-103 satellite is designed to provide a package of communications services, such as digital TV, telephony, videoconferencing, data transmission, Internet access, and to deploy satellite networks by applying VSAT technology.

The Proton-M is a proven heavy-lift launch vehicle typically used to deliver satellites and other cargoes into space, the Proton-M design has a 90 percent success rate among its 109 launches to date.

The combined Proton family of rockets has seen a success rate of 88.7 percent (375 of 423 launches), while the Soyuz-U rocket, known for carrying equipment and cosmonauts into space and to the International Space Station, has a success rate of 97.3 percent, proving to be one of the world’s most reliable launch platforms.