MOSCOW, Dec. 31, 2002 — 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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