MOSCOW, June 6 A Russian satellite launched last
year to map the Arctic has stopped working, a space industry
source told the Interfax news agency on Thursday, in the latest
disappointment for the country's once-pioneering space
The orbiter, Zond-PP, was the first of five Earth-mapping
satellites being developed by Russia. Launched in July 2012, it
was expected to have a three-year life span.
"Zond-PP is declared lost due to a technical malfunction,"
the source told Interfax, but added experts were working to try
to revive the probe.
The satellite was equipped to monitor ocean salinity levels
and land humidity to help Russian meteorologists model ocean
currents and ice floes in the Arctic. It was also intended to
test imaging systems to detect oil and benzene spills.
Moscow has boosted space industry spending and said it wants
to redirect energy away from manned flight, which makes up
nearly half its budget, to focus on pioneering Earth-mapping
satellites and deep space exploration.
But the country that sent up the world's first artificial
satellite has suffered a series of humiliating failed satellite
launches that industry veterans blame on a decade of budget cuts
and a brain drain.
(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)