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Lost Satellites Were Uninsured

The three Glonass satellites that were lost during Tuesday's botched Proton-M rocket launch were not insured, the Federal Space Agency said Wednesday.

The rocket fell apart seconds after lift-off, destroying the satellites, which were worth $75 million, and raining debris down over an area 2 1/2 kilometers from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan.

Only "unique" devices, such as the Fobos-Grunt space probe, are insured by the space agency, the report said.

The Federal Space Agency raised the issue of insuring satellites with the government in 2011 after a number of setbacks hit the space agency, including the loss of three Glonass-M satellites and the Fobos-Grunt in failed launches. But the draft bill is still being formulated by the agency, as is a resolution proposing subsidies for spacecraft insurance.

An operation like yesterday's launch costs 4.4 billion rubles ($134 million), according to information from the government's procurement website This would put the cost of insurance at about 480 million rubles — more than one-third of the space agency's entire insurance budget for 2012.

The space agency did not say how much money it received from the budget for satellite insurance in 2013. However, their insurance budget for 2012 fell from 1.97 billion rubles to 1.2 billion rubles, leading agency deputy head Anatoly Davydov to complain about a lack of support from the government.

The current insurance rate for satellites varies between 13 and 17 percent of their cost, and the rate rises with each unsuccessful launch, deputy CEO of insurance company Sogaz Nikolai Galushin said.

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