Russia loses contact with satellite after launch from Vostochny

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A weather satellite that was launched from Russia’s Far East on Tuesday has failed to reach its designated orbit and no contact can be made, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said. Its fate is unknown.

The Meteor-M No. 2-1 satellite was launched at 2:41 p.m. local time (8:41 a.m. Moscow time) on Tuesday aboard a Soyuz-2.1b rocket. It was only the second launch from Vostochny Cosmodrome, which opened last year in the Amur region of Russia’s Far East.

A statement from Roscosmos said the initial launch was successful and the rocket entered low Earth orbit about 9 minutes and 23 seconds later. It then initiated planned maneuvers to move the Meteor-M satellite, as well as 18 smaller satellites, to their designated orbits.

“However, during the first planned communication session with the satellite, it was not possible to establish a connection due to its absence in the target orbit. Currently, the information is being analyzed,” Roscosmos said in the statement.

The fate of the satellite remained unknown about 6 hours after launch.

In addition to the Meteor-M No. 2-1 weather satellite, the rocket was also carrying 18 smaller satellites from scientific, research and commercial companies and institutions in the United States, Canada, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and Germany.

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