The Straits Times
Published on Dec 10, 2012

Russia works to fix satellite's off-target orbit in space


MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian scientists were working to correct the orbit of a communications satellite on Sunday after it failed to reach its designated location in space - the latest setback for the country's once-pioneering space industry.

The mishap was believed to be linked to a malfunction in the Proton-M rocket's Briz-M booster stage, and occurred hours after the rocket blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1313 GMT (9.13pm, Singapore time) on Saturday.

Previous problems with the booster type apparently led President Vladimir Putin to fire the chief of a key aerospace bureau earlier this year.

"On Dec 9, during the placing of Yamal-402 satellite vehicle into designated orbit, the separation of the satellite vehicle occurred four minutes ahead of schedule," Russia's Roskosmos state space agency said in a statement.