Russia saves satellite after launch glitch

Dec. 11, 2012 at 5:54 PM
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MOSCOW, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- A Russian satellite that failed to achieve its intended orbit after separating from a launch rocket early has been lifted to the proper altitude, officials say.

The Yamal-402 telecommunications satellite was lifted from a transitional orbit with two firings of its own onboard engines, spokesman Alexei Kuznetsov of the Roscosmos space agency said.

Controllers had to use the satellite's own engines and fuel reserves to place it into its planned orbit after a malfunction of the Briz-M booster during the final stage of the launch Sunday, RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.

"The operation was carried out under the supervision of the Mission Control Center of France's Thales Alenia Space company," Kuznetsov said. "Its experts reported that the satellite's engines have operated normally. The planned maneuver was accomplished successfully."

Thales Alenia Space built the satellite for Gazprom Space Systems, a telecommunications arm of Russia's giant Gazprom energy company.

The satellite will providing coverage for most of Russia, the former Soviet republics, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

However, the use of Yamal's fuel to achieve the proper orbit will shorten its service life, experts said.

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