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Satellite burns up following SpaceX rocket glitch

Published on Oct 13, 2012 9:53 AM

CAPE CANAVERAL (REUTERS) - An experimental communications satellite flying piggyback aboard a Space Exploration Technologies' Falcon 9 rocket fell out of orbit and burned up in the atmosphere following a problem during liftoff, satellite operator Orbcomm said on Friday.

The New Jersey-based company's OG2 satellite was a prototype for a new 17-member communications satellite network scheduled to be launched aboard two more Falcon 9 rockets in 2013 and 2014.

Orbcomm declared the satellite a total loss and filed a claim under an insurance policy worth up to US$10 million (S$12.2 million), "which would largely offset the expected cost of the OG2 prototype and associated launch services and launch insurance," the company said in a statement.

Orbcomm had planned on reaching an altitude of 750km above Earth, but fell well short of the mark after one of the Falcon rocket's nine Merlin engines shut down early following launch on Oct 7 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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