Russia Loses Contact With Newly-Launched Satellite

Posted August 18th, 2011 at 10:45 am (UTC-5)
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Russia's federal space agency says it has lost contact with a major communications satellite shortly after its launch.

The Express AM-4 satellite was launched atop a booster rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Thursday, on a mission to provide digital communications across Russia.

The space agency said the satellite's booster initially worked fine, but that there was a “failure” during a later stage.

Officials say they are working to re-establish contact with the European-built satellite, described as Russia's most powerful telecommunications tool.

The mishap is the latest in a series of botched launches, the most recent of which was last February when a Russian military satellite was lost. Last December, a technical malfunction led to the loss of three navigation satellites and ultimately cost the then-space chief Anatoly Perminov his job.