MOSCOW, May 29 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian commission investigating the recent crash of a Proton-M rocket is creating troubled waters too soon with its half-baked theories, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin wrote Thursday on his Facebook page.
“The crash commission at Roscosmos should have first finished its work and submitted the findings to the Russian government, before starting to pester society with its theories of what caused the accident,” Rogozin wrote.
The Proton-M rocket suffered an unknown failure and was lost May 16, about nine minutes after being launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan. The upper stage and its payload, the advanced Express-AM4R communications satellite, burned up in the atmosphere above China, with no debris reaching Earth.
Investigators from Russia’s space agency Roscosmos announced earlier on Thursday they had not ruled out sabotage. Alexander Danilyuk, the deputy general director of the construction bureau that built the rocket, said the incident might have resulted from a glitch in the rocket’s third stage. It was suggested that sabotage could have taken place at some time during the rocket’s assembly.
Last week, Danilyuk said four causes of the Proton-M accident were being considered. The commission quickly excluded a control systems failure.
Roscosmos Head Oleg Ostapenko also said an emergency shutdown of the third stage engine was being considered as the primary cause of the accident.