Botched Russian launch junks Indonesian and Russia satellites
MOSCOW (REUTERS) - A botched Russian launch junked two multi-million dollar satellites on Tuesday that were to provide Indonesia and Russia with telecom services, adding to a series of failures that have dogged the once-pioneering space industry.
Russia's space agency said the failure of the upper stage of the launch atop its workhorse Proton rocket led to the loss of Indonesia's Telekom-3 and Russia's Express MD2 satellites.
The error after takeoff from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan late on Monday replicates a mishap that scrapped the US$265 million (S$328 million) Express AM-4 satellite last summer, casting doubt on the reliability of the Russian rocket.
The space agency, Roskosmos, said in a statement that the Briz-M booster had fired its engines on schedule, but they had burned for only seven of the programmed 18 minutes and 5 seconds needed to push the satellites into their planned orbit.