Launch of communications satellites postponed
March launch of ISS-Reshetnev-built Express-80 and Express-103 satellites has been delayed indefinitely.
Preparations of Express-80 and Express-103 satellites for launch have been put on hold at the Baikonur cosmodrome due to a revealed problem with the Proton-M rocket’s components.
“Quality control tests revealed mismatch of one of the components’ parameters. In order to ensure proper serviceability and guarantee the implementation of the Khrunichev Center’s liabilities, it was decided to replace the component sets, including those of the Proton-M launch vehicle, which is now kept at the Baikonur space center, to put Express satellites into orbit", said Alexei Varochko, general director of Khrunichev Space Center. All defects will be removed right at the cosmodrome.
The replacement of components will be followed by additional routine tests carried out on the rocket. Then the new launch date will be announced.
Express-80 and Express-103 satellites were flown to the Baikonur cosmodrome in late February. When in orbit, they will provide a wide range of telecommunications services across Russia and the CIS countries.