Russian Federation grounds Proton-M rocket for 3 1/2 months

Rockets explosion also caused the destruction of the Progress MS-04, or Progress 65, a cargo ship with 2.6 tons of food, fuel and other things for astronauts on board the ISS.

Rogozin's statement comes as the engines of the second and third stages of the Proton-M carrier rockets have been recalled earlier at the Voronezh Mechanical Plant because of technical problems. The announcement, made during Rogozin's visit to a factory in the city of Voronezh that supplies engines for the country's most powerful operational rocket system, comes nearly two months after an International Space Station-bound cargo ship - being carried on board a Proton-M rocket - blew up just minutes after launch.

Some important components in the second and third stages of the rocket may have been switched out by workers during the construction process at a plant in Voronezh, which builds the Proton-M and Soyuz rocket engines, according to a report. The State Commission is conducting analysis of the current contingency.

This wasn't the first accident involving a Proton-M rocket.

The agency also said that the recent rocket's explosion will not affect ISS crew and its operations. He says employees at the factory had been involved in faking documentation linked to the rocket and pledged that those responsible would be "harshly punished".

Russian officials have since said that the explosion was caused by a fault in the third stage engine of the rocket. The rocket had to carry an advanced communication satellite to the space.

Russian Federation is the only country capable of launching astronauts to the ISS.

The Proton-M rocket, a stalwart of the Russian space program, is used primarily for military and commercial satellite launches.

This article contains material from the Associated Press.

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