Proton M
Launch vehicle Proton M/Block DM-3
Launch site Baikonur, Kazakhstan
Date/Time 2010-12-05 1025 UTC
Description did not achieve orbit
Cause Overfuelling of upper stage
Payload Three GLONASS satellites
Desired orbit Geostationary transfer orbit


The Khrunichev Space Centre, the Proton designer and manufacturer, said the satellites failed to enter the right orbit after the launch went wrong 10 minutes after take-off - i.e. at the time of separation of the Block DM-3 upper stage.

The Russian state commission probing the recent Proton M/Block DM-03 launch failure has blamed RSC Energia, the manufacturer of the upper stage, for the mishap.

"The preliminary results of the investigation commission indicate that Energia miscalculated how much fuel needed to be loaded into the DM-3 rocket booster," said investigation commission head Gennady Raikunov, who also leads the Central Scientific Research Institute of Machine Building (TsNIImash).

Energia failed to account for the fact that the updated version of the upper stage had larger fuel tanks. "The amount of oxidant exceeded the norm by 1-1.5 tons and excessive weight prevented the Proton-M rocket from putting the satellites into calculated orbit," the official said.

He added that the company's management had not carried out all the necessary pre-launch safety procedures and had failed to spot the mistake in calculations.

The rocket, which blasted off from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan, deviated from its course by eight degrees, resulting in the loss of three GLONASS satellites when it fell into the Pacific Ocean northwest of Hawaii.

Launch Failures Chronology