Russian Federal Space Agency to inspect Energia Rocket and Space Corporation

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has ordered the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) to conduct an inspection of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Friday, citing a source in the government's executive office.

"The results of this check are expected to provide an answer to the question whether the state will participate in the Sea Launch project. The instruction contains a special point concerning this matter. The situation surrounding the project's financing is very acute," the source said.

The inspection results should be ready by the second half of March, he said.

During Rogozin's visit to the Energia headquarters in mid-January, the corporation's general director Vitaly Lopota proposed acquiring full control over the Sea Launch project, the newspaper said. Energia owns a 95 percent stake in the reorganized Sea Launch company, which currently holds obligations worth some $500 million.

However, Kommersant's sources insist that the inspection was ordered in response to the recent failed launch of a Russian-Ukrainian Zenit-3SL rocket carrying the Intelsat-27 satellite, which fell back into the Pacific Ocean shortly after takeoff from the Odyssey platform on Feb. 1.

Even after a malfunction of the first-stage onboard power source, developed by Ukraine's Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, was blamed for the accident, questions to the Energia Corporation remain, the newspaper said.

Roscosmos and the government's Military-Industrial Commission will soon assess Lopota's performance and decide whether he is fit for the job, it said.

In an interview with Kommersant, a source in the Federal Agency for State Property Management (Rosimushchestvo) confirmed the existence of this instruction, which he said was included in the Military-Industrial Commission's resolution dated Feb. 6.

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