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Russia deorbits Express-AM4 satellite
Posted: Mon, Mar 26, 2012, 6:14 AM ET (1014 GMT)
Express-AM4 illustration Controllers deorbited Sunday a Russian communications satellite that was launched into the wrong orbit last year despite a last-minute bid to salvage the spacecraft. A Proton rocket launched Express-AM4 last August, but a problem with the booster's upper stage stranded the satellite in a transfer orbit. With no chance of putting the spacecraft into its intended position in geosynchronous orbit, the satellite's owners declared the spacecraft a total loss and moved to lower its orbit to allow a reentry. One venture, Polar Broadband Systems, sought to keep the satellite in orbit, moving it into an elliptical, inclined orbit to provide broadband communications services for Antarctica. However, Russian officials elected to proceed with the spacecraft's deorbiting, and the spacecraft reentered over the North Pacific on Sunday.
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