Weeks of uncertainty are ahead for the ILS launch programme after an anomaly with Saturday’s launch of a Mexican government satellite.
The Proton Breeze M rocket lifted off at 11:47 local time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, carrying the Centenario satellite. According to Khrunichev and International Launch Services (ILS), preliminary flight information indicates that the anomaly occurred during the operation of the third stage, approximately 490 seconds after lift-off.
A Russian State Commission has begun the process of determining the reasons for the anomaly. Simultaneously, ILS will form its own Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB).
The anomaly puts on hold future missions including Inmarsat-5 F3 SC, which only arrived in Baikonur on May 1 and the Russian Express-AM8 spacecraft that had been slated for August.
In April, the launch of Centenario was postponed after an anomalous condition discovered on another spacecraft caused the flight worthiness of the Centenario satellite to be questioned.