Spacex Falcon 9 certified for medium risk NASA launches and another Russian Launch Failure

SpaceX has been certified by NASA’s for Falcon 9 rockets to carryout Category 2 space missions. These are ”medium risk’ launches such as satellites and less expensive space probes.

The Atlas 5, Delta 2 and Pegasus XL rockets operate under this certification.

It took three years for SpaceX to have its Falcon 9 to complete the certification process.

Russians have had 16 botched launches in 6 years

Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev has ordered the formation of a special commission to probe the failed launch early Saturday of a Russian rocket carrying a Mexican satellite into space. This is the latest in a string of launch failures.

The probe announcement came just hours after the Proton-M rocket and its payload exploded in the skies over Kazakhstan about eight minutes after liftoff. The Russian federal space agency Roscosmos, in an early report, said a problem in the rocket’s steering engines surfaced in the suborbital third stage of the launch.

Russia’s Interfax news agency, quoting a Roscosmos spokeswoman, said the Medvedev probe order included instructions to determine the “exact causes” of the failed launch and to “make proposals for personal and financial accountability for this incident.”

In a separate space failure Saturday, Roscosmos reported that the engines of a Progress space ship docked at the International Space Station failed to ignite and were therefore unable to make an adjustment to the orbit of the space station.

The launch failure of an unmanned Russian cargo spaceship has prompted the nation’s space agency to delay both the landing of some of the International Space Station’s crew and the launch of their successors, officials said Tuesday.

The chief of the Roscosmos space agency, Igor Komarov, said the April 28 launch mishap was caused by a leak of fuel tanks in the Soyuz rocket’s third stage. Left in low orbit, the Progress cargo spaceship fell to Earth over the Pacific on May 8.

The list of Russian launch accidents over the last six years includes: 13 complete failures resulting in the loss of all payloads; 3 partial failures that left spacecraft in the wrong orbits; complete loss of 20 spacecraft; 6 Russian GLONASS navigation satellites destroyed; and, an ambitious Mars mission left stranded in Earth orbit.

Proton has been the most troubled of the Russian boosters, with six failures, 1 partial failure and 11 spacecraft lost. One spacecraft was able to reach its intended orbit using on-board propulsion after the Proton rocket’s upper stage shut down prematurely.

Different variants of the venerable Soyuz booster have failed completely on four occasions, taking with them two Progress freighters and a pair of Meridian military communications satellites. Another Soyuz rocket stranded two European Galileo navigational satellites in the wrong orbits.