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Russia Begins Investigation of Botched Satellite Launch

The Russian Defense Ministry and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, will establish an interagency commission to determine whether it is possible to still use the Geo-IK-2 geodesic research satellite that entered the wrong orbit following its Feb. 1 launch, Russian Space Forces said in a Feb. 2 statement.

The commission also will investigate why the satellite veered off into the wrong elliptical orbit.

Mission control lost contact with the Geo-IK-2 satellite soon after it blasted off from Russia’s Plesetsk Cosmodrome aboard a Rockot booster.

Communications with the satellite were later regained, the parameters of its new orbit were established and ground control specialists began testing the spacecraft’s on-board systems, Space Forces Commander Oleg Ostapenko said in the Feb. 2 statement. He also said the spacecraft’s solar arrays deployed as expected.

Russia’s official RIA Novosti news agency on Feb. 3 quoted an unidentified high-level military space industry source as saying that the satellite is unlikely to be used by the military as intended.

The Geo-IK-2, developed by the ISS Reshetnev Company, was designed to study the Earth’s gravitational field for civilian and military purposes, such as improving the accuracy maps and missile guidance systems.