Red Star Rising … and Rising …

December 05 2010 – 1324 UTC:   Russia Launches Rocket Carrying Glonass Satellites

Russia launched a Proton-M rocket carrying three of its Glonass navigation satellites into space on Sunday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

December 05 2010 – 1712 UTC: Glonass Satellites Fail to Reach Designated Orbit

The Glonass satellites launched on Sunday failed to reach designated orbit, possibly because of a rocket failure.  “The rocket’s engine gave a much bigger impetus than planned, and the orbiting unit separated at an altitude much higher than the designated one,” an aerospace industry source told Itar-Tass.

Hmmm.  Has the Energia Aerospce Corporation checked its engine thrust control software for the presence of unauthorized code?   Satellite launches go awry for all sorts of reasons, so you never know.   Particularly when the telemetry reports “all systems go.”

December 07 2010 – 1808 UTC:   Russia Probes  Glonass Spending After Crash

The satellites were to have been boosted into a permanent 19,130-kilometer orbit — but instead splashed down into the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.  Investigators said that they would announce what had caused the failure by December 20. …  Initial reports put the blame on either a computer programming error or on too much fuel being put on board the [booster rocket].

In related news, Lunghu still advises against attempting to land multi-engine jet aircraft at Smolensk North airport.

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