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TMCNet:  Russia attempts to correct Yamal satellite orbit

[December 10, 2012]

Russia attempts to correct Yamal satellite orbit

MOSCOW, Dec 10, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Emergency measures had been used to move Russian telecommunications satellite Yamal-402 closer to its designated orbit, Russian federal space agency Roscosmos said Monday.

Russian Mission Control Center had to pull the satellite to the designated orbit using Yamal's own engine after the Briz-M booster rocket that was carrying it failed during the final acceleration.

"At about 2:00 Moscow time (2200 GMT Sunday), the first switch-on of the Yamal-402 engines was made. According to the ballistics experts, the satellite has received a necessary impulse," Interfax news agency quoted Roscosmos spokesman Alexei Kuznetsov as saying.

The satellite, belonging to the Russian Gazprom Space Systems company, failed to reach the designated orbit on Dec. 9 due to the Briz-M booster stopping early. The booster later exploded due to overheating of its fuel tank.

Roscosmos said the need to expend the Yamal-402'a fuel to correct its orbit will shorten its service life.

Yamal-402, produced by French company Thales Alenia Space, would become operational on Jan. 8, and all its systems were working properly, Roscosmos said.

Yamal is equipped with 46 Ku-band transponders providing coverage over most of Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

In August, a Briz-M booster failed to put two satellites in orbit. Investigations found the failure was caused by a clogging of the booster's fuel pipes.

It led to the resignation of top managers at the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, which designs and builds the booster.

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