Russian Space Agency Roscosmos is planning to halt satellite launches aboard its Proton-M rocket launchers powered by Briz-M boosters, following the malfunctioning of a launcher carrying two satellites.
The boosters of the launcher, which were responsible for failure, functioned only for seven seconds instead of the planned eight minutes and five seconds, the space agency said.
An unnamed Roscosmos source was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying that all further Proton launches would be postponed until the emergency commission determines the cause of the failure.
"For this incident, human error is likely to be there," the source stated.
"Two things may be wrong here, either the mission task wasn't properly calculated or some mishap with the booster's engine occurred when it was already being fired in space."
Launched from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan, the two telecommunication satellites include a Telkom-3 satellite, built by Russia's Reshetnev space firm for Indonesia; and the Express MD2, built for Russian Satellite Communications (RSCC) by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center.
Insured by Russian Ingosstrakh and Alfa Strakhovanie, both the satellites in the failed launch were intended to offer TV broadcast services in Indonesia.
According to the news agency, coverage for Express MD2 totalled $36.9m and $7.1m for the Telkom-3 satellites.
The current Russian spacecraft launch mishap is the fourth of its kind in less than two years.
Image: A Proton M launcher being prepared for launch. Photo: courtesy of alexpgp.