Press Release

ILS Releases Preliminary Information On Proton K/Block DM Launch Anomaly

By SpaceRef Editor
December 31, 2002
Filed under , ,
ILS Releases Preliminary Information On Proton K/Block DM Launch Anomaly

Khrunichev State Research
and Production Space Center, a joint venture partner in International
Launch Services Inc., (ILS) has made available to ILS information
regarding the investigation into the Nov. 26 Proton K/Block DM launch,
which failed to place the ASTRA 1K satellite into proper orbit.

The information is a preliminary conclusion from the Russian State
Failure Commission investigating the incident. It was forwarded by
Vlachislav Ivanov, deputy director general of the Khrunichev Center
and deputy chairman of the commission.

In summary, the commission exonerated the three-stage Proton K
vehicle in the incident and focused on the Block DM upper stage. It
stated that the engine of the Block DM experienced excessive
temperatures and was destroyed during its second ignition, resulting
in the separation of the spacecraft into the wrong orbit. Indications
are that there was excessive fuel in the main engine at the time of
the second burn, leading to the burn-through.

The commission is continuing its investigation into the probable
cause of the failure, including the indication of excessive fuel. The
commission is expected to release its final report and recommended
corrective actions next month. ILS’ Failure Review Oversight Board
will then commence a review of the final report and issue its findings
at the appropriate time.


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  • Fran Slimmer, 571/633-7462
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  • SpaceRef staff editor.