Russia losing millions with failed rocket launches

Featured - August 8th, 2012

Russia’s hopes to regain dominance in the space industry may still be a far cry away after several failed launches, reports the Financial Times.

The launch of the Proton rocket was aimed at providing telecom services to Indonesia and Russia. However, an error happened after take-off from the Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan and led to the loss of  the Telkom-3, which Jakarta purchased from Moscow, and the Express MD2. According to a space industry source, the loss of the two satellites was worth between $100-$150 million. Proton rocket launches will be suspended while the failures are analyzed.

Last year, the failed Briz-M booster mission to Martian moon Phobos lost $265 million. “The last failures, to a certain extent, undermine Russia’s position as a country that provides space launch services,” Yuri Karash, a member of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, told the FT.

Moscow carries out 40% of global space launches but its space industry is hurt by a generation brain drain and tight budgets, the paper suggests. It is “not in the best condition by a long shot,” Mr. Karash added.