Contact lost with newly launched Russian satellite

PTI Moscow | Updated on August 18, 2011 Published on August 18, 2011

The ground control has lost contact with the powerful telecom satellite Express-AM4 due to malfunctioning of the booster stage, reports have said.

The Proton—M rocket had lifted off with the high-power Express-AM4 satellite today from the Baikonur Space Centre in Kazakhstan.

According to Interfax, the Briz—M booster stage was to switch its engines five times to place the telecom satellite on geostationary orbit, but after the fourth firing of the engine, the telemetric contact with it was lost.

“The ground control is unaware about the whereabouts of the satellite,” the agency reported quoting space sources.

“The fifth switching of booster stage Briz—M and separation of the satellite was slotted at 10.18 a.m. and 10.38 a.m. Moscow time, the time is already passed. So far there is no telemetric data,” the agency’s source said.

The satellite, weighing almost six metric tonnes, was designed and built jointly by Russia’s Khrunichev Space Corporation and Astrium, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), and was to be placed in Russia’s key orbital position of 80E to provide digital telecasts and broadband internet access to the Russian and CIS subscribers.

Before the launch, Russian Communications Minister Igor Shchegolev had said the satellite’s parameters were “outstanding” not only for Russia, but for the whole world.

Published on August 18, 2011

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