The Proton rocket stands on its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, awaiting liftoff with the Spektr-RG X-ray astronomy mission. Credit: Roscosmos
Russian officials have delayed until Saturday the launch of a Proton rocket from Kazakhstan with the Spektr-RG X-ray astronomy observatory, an ambitious mission jointly developed with Germany to probe dark energy.
The Russian State Commission overseeing final launch preparations at the Baikonur Cosmodrome decided early Friday to delay the launch until Saturday.
In a statement Friday, the Russian space agency said officials ordered the delay due to need to obtain “experimental confirmation” from Khrunichev, the Proton rocket’s manufacturer in Moscow, of a proposed solution to resolve a technical problem on one of the systems of the launcher.
The Russian space agency — Roscosmos — previously announced Thursday that engineers were examining a technical concern with the Proton rocket, and added that managers planned to decide early Friday whether to proceed with a launch attempt.
The Russian State Commission is scheduled to meet again early Saturday to review the technical problem before approving teams to begin fueling the Proton launcher.
If the launch attempt goes forward, liftoff Saturday is set for 1231 GMT (8:31 a.m. EDT; 5:31 ...