MOSCOW Feb 2 Russia said it had re-established
contact with a military satellite which now appeared to be on
the wrong orbit, Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday.
"The ground mission control specialists have managed to
restore connection with the aircraft. It is located at an orbit
whose parameters are different from planned ones," Interfax
quoted a space industry source as saying.
The source said mission control would establish in the next
few hours whether the satellite could still be used. Russian
Federal Space Agency and Space Forces which are in charge of
military satellite launches declined to comment.
The GEO-IK-2 spacecraft, designed to measure the shape of
the Earth, was launched on Tuesday from the Plesetsk launchpad
in northern Russia. The mission control subsequently lost
contact with the satellite.
The incident follows the loss of three GLONASS navigation
satellites that crashed into the sea in December provoking
outrage from the Kremlin, which is trying to build Russian
President Dmitry Medvedev afterwards sacked two top space
officials. The GLONASS system, seen as a rival to the U.S.
global positioning system (GPS), has been spearheaded personally
by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
(Reporting by Gleb Bryanski; Editing by Janet Lawrence)