Russian Space Officials Punished for GLONASS Failure

Russian Space Officials Punished for GLONASS Failure

Three Russian space officials, including the head of the Russian space agency, have been reprimanded or lost their jobs because of the Proton rocket failure that doomed three GLONASS navigation satellites earlier this month.

The Associated Press (via the Washington Post) reports today that Russian space agency head Anatoliy Perminov was reprimanded, while the deputy head of the agency, Viktor Remishevsky, was fired. Vyacheslav Filin, Deputy Chief of RKK Energiya, the state-controlled company that built the rocket, also was fired according to the report.

Rebuilding the GLONASS system is a top priority for Russia’s space program. Similar in concept to the U.S. Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system, GLONASS needs 24 operating satellites to provide three-dimensional global coverage. The three satellites lost in the December 5 accident were intended to complete the network.

An investigation board determined that workers did not put the proper amount of fuel into the new version of the DM upper stage used for the launch. It cleared the Proton launch vehicle itself, which has already returned to service using a different upper stage.

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