The Russian Federal Space Agency has suffered yet another Russian rocket malfunction, as a Proton-M rocket carrying the Mexican Mex-Sat 1 satellite has crashed Saturday in Siberia a few minutes after being launched from Kazakhstan. The rocket is said to have lost communications with the ground at about the time is was due to separate from the third stage of the rocket, but somehow the third stage rocket’s engine turned off, according to Russian space industry sources.
Roscosmos officials say that authorities are searching for the rocket’s third stage, which they think crashed from its travel into space and landed somewhere in the area of Zabaikalsky, which is bordering China and Mongolia. One worry was that the fuel on board could have exploded after the Russian rocket malfunction, and since the fuel is toxic, it could cause more problems.
Russian Rocket Malfunction Not the First One
This is not the first Russian rocket malfunction, as the Proton-M has had several other failures, and three navigation satellites were lost last year. Now, Russian authorities are suspending all future Proton-M launches, which would include a UK satellite scheduled in June.
Additionally, in April a Russian supply ship with three tons of food and supplies failed to make its travel to the International Space Station when it instead travelled into an unstoppable spin and ended up re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere and being burned up. The cause of this Russian rocket malfunction is said to have been due to a leak in the fuel tanks of the third stage of the Soyuz rocket.
Now, the astronauts left on the ISS have had their travel back to Earth delayed and they must remain there until June with a new crew being delayed until July so that the Russians can investigate all of their Russian rocket malfunction issues. However, the astronauts are in no danger and are said to have enough supplies and food to last several months if needed.
Russians Will Study the Russian Rocket Malfunction Issues
While the Proton-M rocket is the Russian’s main vehicle used for launching commercial satellites. It has had problems over the past few years and has been grounded several times. Officials say the Russians have been working on an upgrade since these types of rockets have been used since the time of the Soviet era and made their first travel into space during the 1960s.
Due to this latest Russian rocket malfunction and the loss of the Mexican satellite, the Proton-M series rockets are once again grounded until further notice and until studies can determine why they keep having failures and other malfunctions.