Proton M/Briz M
Launch vehicle Proton M/Briz M
Launch site Baikonur, Kazakhstan
Date/Time 2012-08-06 1931 UTC
Description Upper stage failure
Cause  
Payload Telkom 3; Ekspress MD2
Desired orbit geostationary transfer orbit

International Launch Services, which markets the Proton for commercial launches, said on 7 August 2012 that the Proton M launch vehicle performed nominally, however, the Orbital Unit (OU), comprised of the Briz M upper stage and the two spacecraft, did not properly reach its transfer orbit and was placed into an off-nominal intermediate orbit.

An investigation into the anomaly began immediately. A Russian State Commission of inquiry has been established and is in the process of determining the reasons for the anomaly. International Launch Servies said it will release details when data become available. While this was a Russian Federal mission, ILS will form its own Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB) in parallel with the Russian State Commission. The FROB will review the commission's final report and corrective action plan, in accordance with U.S. and Russian government export control regulations.

According to the currently available data, the third burn of the Briz M main engine occurred as scheduled. However, the engine was cut off within 7 seconds instead of after the nominal 18 minutes and 5 seconds.

"The signal from the upper stage was received from an emergency interim orbit," said the Russian Space Agency spokesman. "Both satellites can be regarded as lost," the official said.

Last updated: 08 August 2012

Launch Failures Chronology