Errant Russian satellite moves to orbit

Dec. 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM

MOSCOW, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- A Russian satellite that fell short of its orbit should reach its intended level above Earth after a fourth blast of its onboard engine, officials said.

French aerospace company Thales Alenia Space, which built the satellite for Russia's Gazprom Space Systems, will use the thrust boost to get the telecommunications satellite into its target orbit, RIA Novosti reported Friday.

The satellite did not reach its planned orbit because it separated prematurely from the upper stage of its launch rocket Saturday.

Several firings of its onboard engine have nudged the satellite steadily toward the designated point of its geostationary orbit, a Thales Alenia Space spokesman said, and a fourth firing Saturday should complete the maneuver.

However, the service life of the satellite will be reduced from 15 to 11 years due to the emergency use of some of its fuel reserves, officials said.

The Yamal-402 satellite will provide telecommunications coverage for Russia, it former Soviet republics, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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