Russia Grounds Proton-M after Botched Launch [AFP]

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Russia has grounded its workhorse Proton-M rocket as it investigates a launch mishap last week that placed a $300 million telecommunications satellite into a bad orbit, AFP reported Aug. 23.

“The preparation of Proton-M carrier and Briz-M upper stage rocket launches is temporarily suspended until the reasons for the Express-AM4 satellite’s aborted ascent are learned,” the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, said in a statement.

Roscosmos said it had not given up entirely on Express-AM4 and was still trying to establish whether the satellite, launched Aug. 18, could be maneuvered into the correct orbit.

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