MOSCOW, May 16 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian Proton-M rocket that crashed early Friday while carrying the advanced Express-AM4R satellite was insured for 7.8 billion rubles ($224 million), the Khrunichev company that built the rocket said.
According to the company, the insurer is Russia's Ingosstrakh, which has been operating on the domestic and international insurance markets since 1947.
Moscow-based Khrunichev, the prime contractor of Proton, said a malfunction in the third stage occurred on the 540th second of the flight.
Roscosmos chief Oleg Ostapenko said the stage and its payload burned up in the atmosphere above China, with no debris reaching Earth. The Proton has been grounded pending results from an investigation into the failure. The next Proton launch was scheduled for July 15.
The Proton is the largest of Russia’s fleet of space launch vehicles, and has carried both government and commercial payloads.
In July, a Proton rocket crashed shortly after liftoff showering the surrounding countryside with 600 tons of flaming propellants.
Launches of the Proton were suspended for three months following the accident and the Russian and Kazakh governments quarreled over the nearly $90 million clean-up bill.