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Russian satellite fails to reach orbit
Posted: Fri, Dec 23, 2011, 12:47 PM ET (1747 GMT)
A Russian communications satellite failed to reach orbit Friday after the failure of the upper stage of its Soyuz rocket, the latest in a string of Russian launch failures. The Soyuz 2-1b rocket lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia at 7:08 am EST (1208 GMT, 4:08 pm Moscow time) carrying a Meridian communications satellite. While the launch initially appeared to go well, Russian officials later said the satellite failed to reach orbit and instead crashed in Siberia. Initial reports indicated a problem with the rocket's third stage. The launch failure is the fifth in just over a year for Russia, including the loss of a Progress cargo spacecraft on another Soyuz rocket in August. In addition, Russia's Phobos-Grunt Mars spacecraft was successfully launched in November, but was stranded in Earth orbit because of an unknown problem with the spacecraft.
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