February 2, 2011 / 9:23 AM / in 7 years

Russia restores contact with satellite-Ifax

MOSCOW, Feb 2 (Reuters) - 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 technological independence.

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)

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