According to Interfax, citing a representative of the space industry, a launch of the Meridian communications satellite took place on Friday. The launch was carried out from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region. However, the satellite could not be put into the calculated orbit. According to preliminary data, this was due to a failure during the operation of the third stage of the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle, which was used to deliver the satellite into space. This suggests that he fell somewhere in Siberia. Currently, work is underway to calculate the coordinates of a possible location for the fall of the communications apparatus, this was reported by the agency’s source after the satellite crash.
Later, more accurate information about the accident appeared, the wreckage of the apparatus was found in different settlements of the Novosibirsk region, according to eyewitnesses, one of them got into a residential building in the village of Vagaytsevo, breaking through its roof.
Financial losses from the unsuccessful launching of Meridian into orbit can exceed two billion rubles if you consider the cost of the satellite itself, the Fregat and Soyuz block for acceleration.
The Ministry of Defense did not immediately, but rather promptly confirmed the fact of the accident at the launch of the satellite. This was announced by Alexey Zolotukhin, the official representative of the ministry in the rank of colonel in the Aerospace Defense Forces. He confirmed the information about the malfunction of the propulsion system, located in one of the stages, namely in the third, "Soyuz-2". According to him, this happened after the 421 second flight. He also reported on the fall of the apparatus "Meridian" on the ground, after the failure of its withdrawal to the calculated orbit.
Earlier, he also covered for ITAR-TASS the stages of the flight of the Soyuz-2.1b rocket carrying the Meridian communications spacecraft on board. According to him, the launch of the rocket was made in 16: 08 from the Plesetsk cosmodrome. Mentioned Zolotukhin and the fact that the launch took place in normal mode, no problems were found. In 16: 11, he said, the launch vehicle came under the control of ground support vehicles.
Lieutenant-General Oleg Ostapenko, Commander of the Aerospace Defense Forces, was appointed the head of the launch implementation team. At the spaceport, he arrived the day before launch. According to Zolotukhin, in 18-28, the management of the Meridian will be carried out using ground-based controls, at which time it will have to be in the radio-visible zone from the territory of the Russian Federation. However, problems with the third stage made changes to these plans.
According to a representative of the IWCO, today's launch of the Soyuz-2 is already the tenth launch for this modification of the rocket, made from the Plesetsk cosmodrome.
Zolotukhin also reminded about the fact that this was the final stage of the space program of the Aerospace Defense Forces, scheduled for the Plesetsk cosmodrome for 2011 year. In total for this year, seven space launches were successfully launched from a spaceport located in the north of Russia. The program also launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles.
In the open access there is some data on the Meridian series of satellites. In particular, it is known that these are dual-purpose spacecraft that can provide communications to sea vessels and sea ice reconnaissance aircraft operating in the areas of the Northern Sea Route with land stations located on the coast. They can also be used to expand an already existing communications network, using satellites deployed in the Far East and over the northern regions of Siberia. It is planned that space communications devices of the Meridian series will replace three communication systems - Parus, Molniya-1 and Molniya-3, after the group consisting of satellites of this type is deployed.
The first representative of this series was put into orbit using one of the modifications of the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle using the Fregat acceleration unit. The launch took place on December 24 2006. The second unit launched 22 on May 2009 of the year, however, there were failures in the work of the Frigate and the satellite was also unable to reach the calculated orbit. The third satellite successfully reached the estimated orbit of November 2 2010 of the year. 4 May 2011, the successful launch of the fourth.
The devices of the “Meridian” series are manufactured by the company “Information Satellite Systems”, located in the city of Zheleznogorsk. An upgraded version of the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle, which has received a new digital control system and a large payload, is supplied by the Samara-based TsSKB-Progress. The “Fregat” overclocking unit was developed at the Lavochkin Scientific and Production Association located in Khimki, Moscow Region.
Perhaps "Meridian" was not insured
Interfax was provided with information from representatives leading in the field of space insurance, companies, from which it follows that the crashed Meridian satellite was not insured. According to one of the top managers of a large Russian insurance company, there is a possibility that third party liability was also not insured. Only launchers were provided with insurance, but they remained unharmed.
Also in one of the companies they noticed that due to the increase in the number of emergency situations that have occurred with Russian satellites recently, the cost of insurance increases all the time and it becomes more difficult to provide it. According to them, Russian insurers have some difficulty trying to reinsure such risks in the international insurance market.
There is one more nuance to which one of the experts of the market for insurance of space risks paid attention. In any of the emergency situations, its cause is automatically entered in the list of exceptions, and can no longer be used to obtain insurance coverage when insuring any spacecraft.
However, RIA "News", With reference to its sources in the insurance market, released information that civil liability during the current launch of the Meridian vehicle was insured. This was done at NASKO Tatarstan insurance company located in Kazan. The company was founded in 1996 year, among its shareholders were AK Bars Bank and Tatfondbank. The company took 54’s place in Russia in terms of insurance premiums for the first nine months, which amounted to 1.389 is a billion rubles. Also, this source confirmed the information that, according to its data, the satellite was not insured.
It was not possible to obtain official confirmation or refutation of this information in NASCO.
It is possible that the launch of six satellites from Baikonur will be postponed.
Interfax, with reference to one of the representatives of the rocket and space industry, published information on the possible transfer of planned launches for Globalstar-2 devices. The launch of navigation satellites is planned from the Baikonur cosmodrome using the Soyuz-2.1А launch vehicle. The reason for the postponement was the accident at the launch of the Meridian spacecraft, for the investigation of the reasons for which a special commission was created. It is precisely this investigation that can shift the launch scheduled for December 28.
According to the Interfax source, the Soyuz-2.1A and Soyuz-2.1B missiles differ only in the design of the third stage. Therefore, launches of a similar rocket, most likely, will not take place until the investigation of the causes of the emergency situation is completed.
Russian space industry is experiencing a series of failures
During 2011, Russia launched the 33 launch of various spacecraft, which were conducted at all existing space centers, including the Kourou space center located in French Guiana. Five launches of this number failed.
A series of failures began in December 2010, when, when launched from Baikonur, the Proton-M launch vehicle equipped with the DM booster block “buried” three Glonass-M vehicles in the Pacific Ocean intended for navigation purposes. The cause of the accident was that the overclocking unit was filled with 1.5 tons of excess fuel. Damage amounted to 2.5 billion rubles.
In February of this year, another accident occurred when the Geo-IK-2 geodesic military apparatus was put into orbit. The launch was carried out using the Rokot launch vehicle, which worked normally. But because of the emergency situation that occurred during the work of the Briz-KM upper unit, the Geo-IK-2 satellite was launched into the wrong orbit. In June, unofficial information appeared about the total loss of control over the device.
After these events, the head of Roscosmos, Anatoly Perminov, who had held him for seven years, left his post. In April, his place was taken by Vladimir Popovkin.
18 August series continued. The Baikonur Cosmodrome launched the Express-AM4 digital broadcasting satellite using the Proton-M launch vehicle equipped with the Briz-M upper stage. During operation of the upper stage, when its main engine was turned on, the connection with the ground was lost. The reason for the withdrawal of the satellite to an unplanned orbit in Roscosmos was called an error when calculating the flight program.
24 August was launched launch vehicle "Soyuz-U". The rocket was to launch Progress M-12M, a cargo spacecraft, into orbit. This was prevented by the accident of the propulsion system responsible for the third stage of the rocket. The wreckage of a cargo ship and missiles fell in the Altai.
Finally, on November 9, the Phobos-Grunt vehicle was launched from Baikonur to deliver soil samples from Phobos, a satellite of Mars, to Earth. However, the apparatus failed engines designed for its withdrawal to a high reference orbit. According to unofficial information, an amount of five billion rubles was spent on the project.
Another satellite crashed without reaching the specified orbit
- Dedov Alexander