Russia’s Proton-M rockets to be out of service for several months

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin confirmed on Saturday that the nation’s powerful Proton-M rockets will be out of service for the next several months due to certain engine issues.

Rogozin also revealed that some employees at the factory had been involved in faking rocket engine documentation, and promised that anyone responsible for the issues would be harshly punished.

During a visit to the rocket engine factory in Voronezh yesterday, Rogozin told journalists, “Those responsible would be harshly punished. It’s lucky that it didn't end in an accident.”

The head of the Voronezh engine factory gave resignation from the position last week after Russian officials revealed that the devastating crash of a Progress cargo ship in December was due to a problem in engines built at the factory.

Some media reports suggested that engine parts used on the second and third stages of the widely-used powerful Proton rocket had been swapped for cheaper alternatives.

Space launches using the Proton-M rocket, which is used primarily used for military and commercial satellite projects, is expected to resume in three and a half months.