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02:32 pm - Thursday

Russia lost GEO-IK-2 satellite

Moscow, Russia - Maybe due to Rockot launcher


(WAPA) - Russia has lost GEO-IK-2 geodetic satellite, created to provide a three-dimensional map of Earth and a report on the movements of tectonic plates, thus helping the Russian armed forces to check the locations of some targets.

The military satellite was launched on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, from the Plesetsk space center, central Russia, on board Rockot (also transliterated Rokot) rocket carrier; it was the first launch this year from this cosmodrome.

After reaching an altitude of 600 km, the satellite should have been put in the pre-established orbit by the second stage, the Breeze KM, that after the ignition should have reached an altitude of 1000 km. However, this stage could not make the second ignition for the circularization: that's why GEO-IK-2 is now in an elliptical orbit that does not coincide with the pre-established one: it almost touches it in the furthest point, but in the position closest to Earth it reaches 330 kilometers.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has created a committee with the Russian space agency "Roscosmos" to make clear the possible causes of the accident and send back GEO-IK-2 to the right orbit. According to US military sources, the failure of the launch may be due to the Rockot launcher.

It is not clear yet if the missile will be lost or at least, if its activity will suffer substantial damages. As reported by "RIA Novosti", sources from Russian space industry think that "It is impossible to correct the current orbit in such a way that the satellite would be able to perform all its functions properly".

(World Aeronautical Press Agency - 2011-02-03 02:32 pm)



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