MOSCOW – The
Russian president threatened to punish those responsible for the
country's recent space failures, which included the botched launch of a
Mars probe earlier this month.
Dmitry Medvedev warned that the space
officials responsible could face heavy fines or even criminal penalties,
the Ria Novosti news agency reported.
"The latest failures [in the space industry]
seriously harm Russia's competitiveness," he said. "This means that we
need to conduct a serious analysis and punish those responsible."
Russian space agency Roscosmos faced several mishaps over the past 11 months.
Last December, a rocket failed to put three
Glonass-M satellites into orbit, costing the state 4.3 billion rubles
Several space officials were fired after
another mishap in February, in which a booster rocket carrying a
military satellite failed to launch.
There were a further two space mishaps in
August -- a rocket lost a prized satellite designed to provide digital
TV and secure government communications, and a week later, a malfunction
prevented a cargo spacecraft from reaching orbit. Its debris fell in
Earlier in November, Roscosmos admitted that
it had given up hope of regaining contact with the Mars probe
Phobos-Grunt, which was placed in the wrong orbit after a botched
launch, and feared that it might crash back down to Earth in January.
The European Space Agency later announced it had established some
contact with the probe.Published November 27, 2011
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