Russian communications satellite falls after launch

By REUTERS
December 23, 2011 17:18




MOSCOW - A Russian communications satellite fell to the ground on Friday soon after it was launched, adding to a string of disasters that have haunted the country's space industry, Russian news agencies reported on Friday, quoting military sources.

The agencies said the Meridian satellite, which can have both military and civilian use, did not reach its orbit and fell to the ground near the city of Tobolsk in Siberia, about 2,300 km from Moscow.

The sources blamed the accident on the carrier rocket's failure. A source in the space industry told Interfax news agency the Meridian failure could delay the launch of Progress cargo craft, due in January.

Several incidents have marred the celebration of the 50 years since Yuri Gagarin's pioneering flight to space. A cargo craft taking supplies to astronauts aboard the International Space Station broke up in the atmosphere in August.


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