Russian Comsat: Missed it By That Much

Last week, Russia’s $300 million Express-AM4 communications satellite was stranded in the wrong orbit due to a malfunction of its Breeze-M upper stage (the second malfunction of a Breeze stage in six months). Russians officials have begun an investigation into the failure and are studying whether the spacecraft can be salvaged by moving it to a geosynchronous orbit at 36,000 km using on-board propulsion. However, according to figures provided by Space News, that could be quite a challenge:

Breeze-M Performance for Express-AM4 Satellite
 PlannedActualDifference
Apogee 35,786 km 20,317 km 15,469 km
Perigee 5,210 km 1,007 km 4,203 km
 Inclination 20.5 degrees 51.3 degrees 30.8 degrees

On the bright side, the satellite was insured for $270 million.