Russia Begins Investigation of Botched Satellite Launch

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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.