Putin Angered by Failed Russian Space Launch

By: The Associate Press
By: The Associate Press

In a photo provided by NasaThe Soyuz TMA-04M rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.(AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says this week's failed space launch has dented the nation's prestige and those to blame must be held responsible.

A Proton booster rocket launched Monday failed to place two communications satellites into target orbits, a mishap that followed several other botched launches. An official investigation is under way.

Medvedev said Thursday the failure could have been caused by "sloppiness." He says he will chair a government meeting next week to look into the case and name those responsible for the failure.

Russia's space program has suffered a series of humiliating failures blamed on manufacturing flaws and engineering mistakes. They included the loss of a robotic probe designed to study a moon of Mars that was launched in November and eventually came crashing down in January.

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