Launches of light-class Rokot carrier rockets will resume in the first half of September following a nine-month suspension due to attempts to fix a glitch in the rocket’s booster, Russian space agency, Roscosmos, said.
The glitch was detected during a Rokot launch in January when the rocket’s Briz-KM booster failed to deliver three military satellites into their designated orbits. As a result, one of the satellites was lost.
Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin told reporters Monday that the glitch had been fixed and the next launch of a Rokot vehicle carrying Gonets low-orbit telecoms satellites will be conducted in early September.
Russia’s space program suffered a series of setbacks in the past few years. In a most recent incident, a Proton-M rocket carrying three satellites for the Glonass positioning system, Russia’s answer to GPS, crashed in a ball of flames, seconds after blasting off from Russia’s Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on July 2.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin heavily criticized Russia’s space industry on Monday, lambasting technical incompetence and calling for structural reform across the whole sector during a meeting of a commission appointed to investigate the Proton launch failure.
In July, Russia’s Audit Chamber said the Federal Space Program was ineffective, and blighted by poor management and use of funds for space projects.