Russia analyzes satellite launch failure

Dec. 26, 2012 at 6:35 PM

MOSCOW, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- The failure of a bearing in a pump on a Russian rocket most likely caused the initial failure of a satellite to reach its intended orbit, analysts said.

A Yamal-402 telecommunications satellite launched from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan Dec. 8 separated from its launch rocket 4 minutes early, failing to reach the desired orbit.

The destruction of a bearing inside the turbopump of the Briz-M launch rocket's upper stage was responsible for the early separation, experts with Russia's Roscosmos space agency said.

French aerospace company Thales Alenia Space, which built the satellite for Russia's Gazprom Space Systems, was later able to lift the satellite into its intended orbit using its onboard engines.

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

Roscosmos said specialists would check the condition of all turbopumps on Briz-M launch rockets.

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