Spaceflight Insider

Eutelsat 9B, GLONASS M-51 launches delayed

Proton-M rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrone Roscosmos photo posted on SpaceFlight Insider - Copy

Photo Credit: Roscosmos

Two Russian rocket launches from the Baikonur and Plesetsk Cosmodromes located in Kazakhstan and Russia respectively have been pushed back. The dual-delays mark an inauspicious start for the Russian 2016 launch manifest and highlight deep issues within the nation’s space efforts – which was rocked by accidents, scandals, and restructuring during 2015.

The first of these delays, that of a Proton-M rocket with the Eutelsat 9B satellite, was supposed to be sent skyward on Jan. 25 – it has been pushed back three days and will now launch no-earlier-than Jan. 28. This is according to the Facebook Roscomos Fans Page and the Russian News Service TASS.

The launch is being carried out by International Launch Services (ILS); staff located at the Khrunichev Centre (who build the Proton-M as well as its Breeze-M upper stage) wanted more time to get the rocket and its upper stage ready for flight.

Since 2010, seven missions that the Proton-M was tasked with getting underway ended in either total or partial failures (6 and 1 respectively).

Meanwhile, the GLONASS M-51 mission, which had been scheduled to be sent aloft from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome located in Russia sometime late this month, has been pushed back to no-earlier-than Feb. 4 at 20:53 GMT. The mission had also been set to launch atop a Soyuz-2.1b atop a Fregat upper stage on Dec. 29, 2015.

The GLONASS system is Russia’s answer to the United States’ Global Positioning System in providing navigation services. In July of 2013, a trio of GLONASS spacecraft were lost when another Proton-M rocket cartwheeled out of control before slamming into the ground.

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Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

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