Russia fails to put satellite into planned orbit

2012-12-10 01:14:18 GMT2012-12-10 09:14:18(Beijing Time)  SINA.com
A Proton-M rocket carrying the Yamal-402 communications satellite blasts off from a launch pad in Kazakhstan (AFP/File)A Proton-M rocket carrying the Yamal-402 communications satellite blasts off from a launch pad in Kazakhstan (AFP/File)

A technical glitch that occurred after launch caused a Russian satellite to veer off course, the country's space agency reported.

The Yamal-402, a 4.5-tonne communications satellite, separated four minutes ahead of schedule from its Proton-M carrier rocket, causing it to miss its planned orbit, the Ria Novosti news agency reported.

Officials said it may take three days to get the satellite back on course. But even if the course correction is successful, the satellite would no longer be able to perform all of its tasks.

It is the latest in a string of embarrassing mishaps for the Russian space program.

In August, a similar separation problem caused the loss of two satellites, which led President Vladimir Putin to fire the head of the country's aerospace department.

The Yamal-402 was launched on Saturday from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahkstan.

Manufactured by Russian and French firms, it is supposed to improve television and internet connections in Russia and Western Europe.

(Agencies)

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