Russian Ground Controllers Lose Contact With Six Small Satellites After Launchgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Dec 28, 2000 - 05:36 AM
Russian Ground Controllers Lose Contact With Six Small Satellites After Launch The Associated Press
MOSCOW (AP) - Russian ground controllers lost contact with six small satellites Thursday soon after they were blasted into space from a far northern launch pad, a Russian space official said. The communications satellites were packed on top of a Cyclone-3 booster rocket launched Wednesday evening from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Russian Arctic. Radio contact was lost early Thursday morning, Russian Missile Forces spokesman Ilshat Bakchurin said.
It was the second failure of a satellite launch from the site in two months: An American communications satellite, Quickbird 1, failed to make contact with ground controllers and was lost soon after blastoff from Plesetsk on Nov. 21. A preliminary investigation suggested ground controllers at Plesetsk were not to blame, Russian officials said.
Wednesday's failed launch also came two days after Mission Control in Moscow lost contact with the now-uninhabited Mir space station for 20 hours. A dead battery was blamed for the mishap, and controllers said Tuesday they had regained full control over Mir.
In Wednesday's launch, the first and second stages of the rocket functioned normally, Bakchurin said, as the rocket lifted off the launch pad and blasted through the thicker layers of Earth's atmosphere without complications. Radio contact was lost when the third stage was about to enter orbit, he said.
Controllers believe the group of tiny satellites failed to separate from the rocket's third stage, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported, citing unnamed sources at the Plesetsk cosmodrome. The satellites may have fallen in the Bering Strait, which separates Russia from Alaska in the far northern Pacific Ocean, the report said.
The Russian Aerospace Agency and the Strategic Missile Forces, which control the Plesetsk launch pad, would not immediately comment on the report.
The tiny satellites were intended for both military and civilian use, Russian news reports said earlier.
Russia's satellite network has deteriorated since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union due to lack of funding. But in recent months, the pace of defense-related satellite launches has increased.
-- Carl Jenkins (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 28, 2000
Russia Loses Six Satellites
Thursday, December 28, 2000
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV Associated Press Writer MOSCOW (AP) - Russia lost six communications satellites Thursday when a booster rocket carrying them to space from a far northern cosmodrome failed shortly after launch, the second such failure in as many months.
Three civilian and three military communications satellites were launched Wednesday from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Russian Arctic atop a Ukrainian-made Cyclone-3 booster rocket.
The first and second stages of the rocket functioned normally, but the third one failed, leading to the loss of the satellites, Strategic Missile Forces spokesman Ilshat Bakchurin said in a telephone interview.
Radio contact with the satellites was lost early Thursday, and they burned up in the atmosphere shortly afterward, scattering debris into the Arctic Ocean some 35 miles southeast of Wrangel Island off the Far Eastern Chukotka Peninsula. The debris caused no damage, officials said. The bad news came a month after an American communications satellite failed to make contact with ground controllers and was lost soon after blasting off from Plesetsk on Nov. 21 atop a Russian Cosmos-3 rocket. A preliminary investigation into the failure suggested that ground controllers at Plesetsk were not to blame, Russian officials said. The satellite belonged to the Longmont, Colo.-based company Earth Watch.
Wednesday's failure also came two days after Mission Control in Moscow lost contact for 20 hours with the unoccupied Mir space station. The accident was blamed on Mir's batteries losing power. Controllers said they regained full control over the Mir on Tuesday. Georgy Polishchuk, a deputy director of the Russian Aerospace Agency, blamed the loss of the satellites on the Soviet-designed booster, manufactured by the Ukrainian company Yuzhmash. The space agency has suspended launches of Cyclone-3 rockets until the cause of the failed launch is determined, agency spokesman Vyacheslav Mikhailichenko told The Associated Press. A similar failed launch two years ago nearly led to the loss of six Strela military satellites, but space officials managed to save them. The failed launch could deal a painful blow to the cash-strapped Aerospace Agency, which is struggling to maintain the nation's aging satellite network. Its chief, Yuri Koptev, said Wednesday that Russia had 109 satellites in orbit as of Dec. 1, and 66 of them had already surpassed their designated lifetime - meaning they were no longer sending signals.
In recent months the pace of satellite launches has increased, but it isn't enough to keep the necessary number of satellites in operation, Koptev said.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), December 28, 2000.
Computer Caused Russia Rocket Crash
KIEV, Dec 30, 2000 -- (Reuters) Ukraine's space rocket design bureau KB Yuzhnoye said on Friday that computer faults were responsible for Thursday's crash of a Ukrainian-made Tsiklon-3 light booster rocket.
The rocket, carrying six small satellites belonging to Russia's Defense Ministry and space agency Rosaviakosmos, was launched from Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia but crashed a few minutes after takeoff. "According to preliminary results of monitoring...at 367 seconds (after liftoff) an order was generated to shut down the engines," Yuzhnoye said in a statement.
"The generation of the order was caused by the erroneous functioning of the Tsiklon's systems."
The bureau gave no more details, saying the investigation would be continued.
(C)2000 Copyright Reuters Limited.
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 30, 2000.