MOSCOW, October 11, 2007 – The Russian State Commission investigating the unsuccessful launch last month of a Proton vehicle carrying the JCSAT-11 satellite, determined that a damaged pyro firing cable on the interstage truss prevented the activation of the pyro bolts that were to have separated the first and second stages of the rocket.
Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) and chairman of the 18-member investigative commission, announced the findings after meeting with government officials in Kazakhstan. Proton launches will resume with a Glonass satellite mission for Roscosmos.
Members of the ILS Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB) began their review of the commission's findings in Moscow on Monday. The FROB does not conduct its own investigation, but independently reviews the methods, conclusions and corrective action recommendations of the Russian commission. ILS Vice President and CTO Jim Bonner, Chairman of the FROB, said, "I am very confident that the Russian State Commission was able to conclude its investigation thoroughly and in a timely manner. Having not only telemetry, but recovered hardware from the vehicle itself certainly facilitated the investigation and conclusions."
The FROB includes industry experts, representatives from JSAT Corporation and the next scheduled ILS customer, as well as space insurance representation. If the FROB is satisfied with the investigation and corrective actions, ILS commercial launches could resume as early as mid-November.
After the FROB concludes its review, under a separate licensing authority from the U.S. Department of State, ILS will provide briefings to customers and the insurance community.
ILS President Frank McKenna said, "We appreciate the full support of our customers during this recovery period, as we act with diligence and determination through the investigation and the return-to-flight activities with our partner, Khrunichev. We look forward to resuming launch services in the near term with complete assurance of mission success."
International Launch Services is the U.S.-Russian joint venture between Space Transport Inc. and Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center with RSC Energia. ILS has the exclusive rights for worldwide commercial sales and mission management of satellite launches on Russia's premier vehicle, the Proton, and the future Angara vehicle. ILS is incorporated in Delaware in the United States, and is headquartered in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.