Russian satellite falls short of orbit

Dec. 10, 2012 at 7:39 PM

MOSCOW, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A Russian telecommunications satellite has failed to reach its intended orbit after separating from it launch rocket 4 minutes early, officials said.

The Yamal satellite for Gazprom Space Systems, a telecommunications arm of Russia's energy giant Gazprom, blasted off Saturday from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan.

Although it failed to achieve its desired orbit because of the early separation, the satellite's manufacturer, Thales Alenia Space, is working on a plan to use the satellite's own engines and fuel to adjust its orbit, RIA Novosti reported Sunday.

"Yamal-402 has been deployed into an orbit close to the calculated one, and unless it was damaged by the early separation, it is likely that the satellite may be used as designated with some restrictions," a space expert told RIA Novosti.

The satellite is intended to provide telecommunications cover over most of Russia and its former Soviet republics, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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