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Russia may resume Proton rocket launches in Sept

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-08-05 21:40

MOSCOW - Russia planned to resume launches of its Proton-M rockets, with five scheduled before the end of the year, the Federal Space Agency Roscosomos said Monday.

It will end a freeze on all scheduled launches after a Proton-M carrying navigation satellites exploded shortly after takeoff from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 2.

According to Roscosmos deputy head Alexander Lopatin, the launches might resume in September, when "all necessary work will have been completed."

"It is possible to conduct one launch in three weeks. So there will be four or five of them (till the end of the year)," Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin told a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is in charge of the space and defense industries.

Popovkin said the first Proton to be launched would carry a foreign satellite.

The official said the systems side of Proton construction would be supervised by the satellite makers from now on.

"Increasing quality control along with resuming inspections by military representatives must bring positive results," he said.

Quality control was conducted up until 2010 by Defense Ministry representatives.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reprimanded Popovkin for "improperly fulfilling his professional duties."

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