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Oops! Soyuz Places 2 Galileo Satellites in Wrong Orbits
Soyuz launches two Galileo satellites (Credit: ESA)

Soyuz launches two Galileo satellites (Credit: ESA)

After much celebratory rhetoric on Friday over the launch of two Galileo navigation satellites from Kourou, European officials realized the spacecraft were placed in the wrong orbits.

Arianespace, which managed the launch of the Russian Soyuz booster, made a terse announcement:

Complementary observations gathered after separation of the Galileo FOC M1 satellites on Soyuz Flight VS09 have highlighted a discrepancy between targeted and reached orbit.

Investigations are underway. More information will be provided after a first flight data analysis to be completed on August 23, 2014.

(more…)

  • Parabolic Arc
  • August 23, 2014
Russian, Ukrainian Rockets Prone to Failure in Recent Years
Another fine day for Russia's space program. A Proton crashes with three GLONASS satellites.

Another fine day for Russia’s space program. A Proton crashes with three GLONASS satellites.

The spectacular crash of Russia’s Proton rocket on Tuesday — with the loss of three navigation satellites — was simply the latest in a series of launch failures that have bedeviled the Russian and Ukrainian space industries over the last 30 months.

The table below shows a tale of woe that began in December 2010 and has resulted in the loss of 15 spacecraft and cost the heads of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and launch vehicle builder Khrunichev their jobs.

RUSSIAN & UKRAINIAN LAUNCH FAILURES SINCE DECEMBER 2010

Date

Rocket

Upper Stage

Payload

Result

Cause

Dec. 5, 2010 Proton Block-DM 3 GLONASS satellites Crashed in Pacific Ocean Block-DM overfilled with fuel making it too heavy to send satellites into orbit
Feb. 1, 2011 Rockot Breeze-KM GEO-IK 2 Stranded in useless orbit Failed restart of Breeze-KM
Aug. 18, 2011 Proton Breeze-M Express-AM4 Stranded in useless orbit Breeze-M under performance
Aug. 24, 2011 Soyuz-U Block-I (3rd stage) Progress M-12M freighter Burned up over Siberia Blocked fuel line in third stage
Sept. 27, 2011 ICBM
(Possibly Avangard)
Missile failed during initial test, crashed 5 miles from launch site Failure of first stage
Nov. 9, 2011 Zenit-2SB
(Ukraine)
Fregat (Russia) Phobos-Grunt (Russia) Stranded in Earth orbit, re-entered atmosphere Fregat upper stage failure
Dec. 23, 2011 Soyuz-2.1b Fregat Meridian-5 Re-entered over Siberia Failure of Block-1 third stage engine
Aug. 23, 2012 Proton Breeze-M Telkom 3 (Indonesia), Express MD2 Satellites stranded in useless orbits;  Breeze-M later exploded, creating large debris field Breeze-M failure
Dec. 8, 2012 Proton Breeze-M Yamal-402 Placed satellite in wrong orbit; satellite reached planned orbit using on-board propellant Early shutdown of Breeze-M
Jan. 15, 2013 Rockot Breeze-KM 3 Strela 3M Rodnik satellites One satellite reportedly lost, two others placed in orbit; controllers unable to maneuver upper stage to lower orbit for rapid re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere Erratic behavior of Breeze-KM
Feb. 1, 2013 Zenit-3SL
(Ukraine)
Block DM-SL (Russia) Intelsat 27 Rocket and satellite fell into the sea First stage failure
July 2, 2013 Proton Breeze-M 3 GLONASS Satellites Crashed at launch site First stage failure

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  • Parabolic Arc
  • July 3, 2013