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Russian satellite debris reported to land in Cosmonaut Street

Rocket launch

I was a little surprised to read of a depressing end to the year for Russian rocket launches.

While I don’t follow such things avidly, I do pay attention to their occurrence, and to the stories around them.

One phrase that had been rolling around in the vast spaces of my mind compared Russian failures to those of America and Europe, and implied that Russia was failure free, while the others ‘dropped things’ regularly. While I didn’t necessarily accept this at face value, the lack of publicity of Russian launches makes it more than a 5-minute exercise to check, however someone has done this (see below), and the record is not quite as glowing as some would have us believe.

News of a Soyuz rocket failure was particularly notable, because I am sure the phrase I recollect suggested that the Soyuz rocket had not suffered a single failure to date, and that the design had changed little over the years, enhancing its reliability – it would seem that this impressive record no longer stands.

At the moment, Russia has completing new launch facilities on the equator – launching from there boosts the take-off speed, meaning less fuel is needed, or larger payloads can be carried – and is currently trying to launch a number for the European Space Agency (ESA), while the first launch (back in October) carried two Galileo satellites, for Europe’s GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) which will ultimately free it from dependence on America’s NavStar GPS.

Fragments of a Russian satellite that failed to launch properly have landed in a street named after cosmonauts in a remote Siberian village, reports say.

The Meridian communications satellite failed to reach orbit on Friday.

Parts crashed into the Novosibirsk region of central Siberia and were found in the Ordynsk district around 100km (60 miles) south of the regional capital, Novosibirsk.

The loss of the Meridian satellite ends a disastrous 12 months for Russian space activity with the loss of three navigation satellites, an advanced military satellite, a telecommunications satellite, a probe for Mars and as an unmanned Progress supply ship.

Earlier this month, Russia also failed to launch a Soyuz rocket

via BBC News – Russian satellite debris lands in Cosmonaut Street.

Update

It looks as if the woes of the Russian space industry are growing – and the bad timing is going to let new starts get a foot in the door:

Private spacecraft move forward as Soyuz struggles – space – 06 February 2012 – New Scientist

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December 25, 2011 - Posted by | Cold War, military | , , , , , , ,

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