No Need to Ban Proton-M Launches – RSA

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) — The RSA (Russian Space Agency) said Thursday there is no need to ban launches of Proton-M rockets following the recent failure of the Arabsat 4A communications satellite.

A Proton rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan Tuesday evening carrying the satellite, but the craft was not put into the proper orbit due to a malfunction on the Briz-M booster and subsequently lost.

The agency said a special commission had been set up to investigate the causes of the failure.

"In this connection and given that the next launch of a Proton-M rocket is scheduled for the second half of May 2006, it is currently unnecessary to ban launches of these carrier rockets," the agency said.