Upside-Down Sensor Installation Faulted For Proton M Crash

By Amy Svitak, Maxim Pyadushkin
Source: Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

A manufacturing defect in the Breeze M helium pressurization system led to the loss of Russia’s Express-MD2 and the Indonesian Telkom-3 satellites in August 2012, while an early Breeze M shutdown following the December 2012 launch of the Gazprom Space Systems Yamal 402 commercial telecom satellite left the spacecraft in a useless orbit.

A failure review attributed the shortfall to a combination of worst-case factors—including temperature and pressure—that led to damage in an upper-stage turbopump bearing.

Satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space was able to maneuver Yamal 402 into its intended orbit, though it cost the customer—Gazprom Space Systems of Moscow—four of the spacecraft’s intended 15 years of service life.


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