Official says satellite in wrong orbit

Feb. 24, 2011 at 1:05 PM
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MOSCOW, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The Russian military said Thursday it cannot use the satellite launched into the wrong orbit earlier this month for earth mapping.

However, Russian First Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said the satellite could be used for checking some control systems, RIA Novosti said.

"The satellite is lost for the defense ministry," Popovkin said.

The Geo-IK-2 was launched from the Plesetsk spaceport and was intended to help draw a three-dimensional map of the Earth and represented the second setback for Russia's space program in the past two months. Earlier the launch of a rocket with three Glonass communications satellites failed.

Popovkin said the control system on the rocket that launched the Geo-IK-2 satellite appeared to be at fault. He said a panel studying the failure hasn't completed its investigation.

He said at an arms meeting in Abu Dhabi Sunday the satellite "can't perform its mission."

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