GLONASS launch rocket damaged
Two outsize cargo trains - one carrying components of a Proton-M rocket - have scraped each other, possibly jeopardising the next GLONASS launch.
The Russian cargo trains, travelling in opposite directions, came into contact in the southwestern region of Ulyanovsk. The outsize outer casing of several carriages of both trains was damaged in the accident on 19 July.
The train carrying the Proton-M components continued to the Kazakh space center, Baikonur, where an assessment will be made as to whether the rocket will still be able to launch 3 GLONASS-M satellites on 2 September.
But it is reported that a reserve Proton-M is already on site, and a launch delay is unlikely.
With the September and one further launch planned this year, GLONASS should provide global cover by the end of 2010.
Proton-M is the heaviest Russian 3-stage rocket, capable of carrying more than 20 tons of payload.