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Russia writes off military satellite in wrong orbit
Posted: Tue, Feb 22, 2011, 8:02 AM ET (1302 GMT)
Rockot launch of GOCE (ESA) Russian government officials said that a military satellite launched this month into the wrong orbit will not be able to carry out its mission, and will also suspend further launches of the Rockot vehicle to investigate the incident. The Rockot launcher lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia on February 1 carrying the Geo-IK-2 geodetic satellite, with the intent of placing the satellite into a circular orbit at an altitude of 1,000 kilometers. Instead, Geo-IK-2 ended up in orbit of 370 by 1,020 kilometers, apparently because of a malfunction of the rocket's upper stage. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said that the satellite will not be able to carry out its mission in its current orbit, although engineers will test out systems in preparation to launch another satellite in the series late this year. Further launches of the Rockot booster, a converted SS-19 ICBM, have been suspended by the Russian government until the investigation into the latest launch is complete.
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