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Russian Satellite Fails To Enter Orbit After Launch From New Cosmodrome


The Russian space agency says that a satellite that was launched from its new Vostochny Cosmodrome has failed to enter a planned orbit, another blow to Moscow's space program.

"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" the Russian space agency Roskosmos said in a statement, adding that it was seeking to establishing the cause of the problem.

Russian news agencies quoted unnamed sources in the space agency as saying that the likely cause was the failure of the booster's final stage, the Fregat. The booster also carried 18 microsatellites built in Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.

Vostochny, in the Amur region near the Chinese border, is intended to reduce Russia's dependence on the Soviet-era Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

But the project has been dogged by reports of corruption, as several people involved in the planning and construction of the facility were arrested on embezzlement and fraud charges in recent years.

The first launch from the Vostochny facility took place in April 2016, after a one-day delay caused by a technical glitch that angered President Vladimir Putin, who was present for the launch.

The April 2016 launch was successful, but one of the satellites put into orbit by the rocket soon stopped functioning.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, TASS, and Interfax
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