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Fueling error blamed in loss of satellites

File image.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (UPI) Dec 10, 2010
Russia's loss of three satellites during launch this week was caused by an off-course booster rocket that had been given too much fuel, officials said.

The estimated 1-1/2 to 2 tons of excessive fuel caused the rocket to deviate from its course and the satellites crashed into the Pacific Ocean, RIA Novosti reported Friday.

"According to preliminary information, the problem was not with the fuel service unit at the launching site, but with one of the sensors showing the fuel level," Gennady Raikunov, head of the investigation commission, said.

"We do not rule out the factor of human error," he said.

Raikunov said the Russian space rocket corporation Energia may be linked to the incident.

The Sunday launch was intended to complete the forming of Russia's Glonass navigation system, similar to the U.S. GPS system.

However, the Proton-M rocket, launched from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan, deviated from its course by 8 degrees, resulting in the loss of the satellites.

The spacecraft fell into the Pacific Ocean to the northwest of Hawaii, RIA Novosti reported.

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Russia probes navigation system spending after crash
Moscow (AFP) Dec 7, 2010
Russia launched a probe Tuesday into whether the money assigned to create a satellite navigation rival to the US GPS system was being wisely spent, prosecutors said, after the latest launch ended in failure. The decision followed the failed launch Sunday of three Glonass satellites that were to have completed a satellite constellation whose development had been begun by the Soviet Union back ... read more

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