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05:36 GMT +3 hours21 December 2014
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Space Agency Chief Denies Staff Changes after Proton Failure

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Vladimir Popovkin, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, on Tuesday denied staff changes in the agency following Monday’s loss of two telecommunications satellites.

Vladimir Popovkin, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, on Tuesday denied staff changes in the agency following Monday’s loss of two telecommunications satellites.

“Statements by unnamed space and rocket industry officials on personnel decisions allegedly already being made regarding a number of executives, posted in a number of media, are untrue,” Popovkin said, without specifying the media.

A Briz-M booster failed to bring the two satellites, Indonesia’s Telkom-3 and Russia’s Express MD2, into a calculated transition orbit after the launch late on Monday due to a malfunction of the booster’s engine.

Roscosmos will suspend the launches of Proton-M rocket carriers with Briz-M boosters following the incident, a space industry source said on Tuesday.

In August 2011, a malfunction of a Briz-M launch vehicle led to the loss of the Express-AM4 telecommunication satellite.