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Russian Navigation Satellites Stray Off Course, Crash Into Pacific


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
Three Russian satellites, sent into orbit to complete Russia's GLONASS navigation system, strayed off course today and crashed into the Pacific Ocean not far from Hawaii, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports.

A spokesman for Russia's space agency Roscosmos informed the Reuters news agency of an "unplanned situation" but did not confirm that the satellites had crashed.

The satellites were being carried by the Proton-M rocket carrier, which blasted off early today from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

The satellites were to have been part of a new navigational system meant to compete with the United States' leading GPS network.

Russia has been developing the system for more than 30 years and has poured billions of dollars into the project.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earlier said that all new cars sold in Russia from 2012 could be installed with the GLONASS system.

compiled from agency reports