Russia successfully launched a military satellite on Sunday. The defense ministry said in a statement that the Proton-M carrier rocket successfully put into orbit a military satellite after taking off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The satellite was launched at 3:19 a.m. (Moscow Time) on December 13. The defense ministry added that it had established a telemetric communication line with the satellite.
Russia can take a sigh of relief
All the equipment on board were functioning normally. It comes as a huge sigh of relief to the Russian space program, which has suffered a series of setbacks in the last few months. Earlier this month, one of the two military satellites failed to separate from the Soyuz-2.1B rocket’s upper stage, and was lost. The Soyuz carrier rocket carrying two satellites was launch from the Plesetsk cosmodrome on December 5.
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Citing unnamed sources, TASS news agency reported that the Kanopus-ST satellite was lost due to malfunctioning of one of the four locks holding it. According to Reuters, it was only the second launch of the Soyuz-2.1B rocket, with the first launch taking place in December 2013. In another accident that occurred in May, a Proton-M rocket experienced a glitch just eight minutes into the flight, eventually crashing in Siberia. The Proton rocket was carrying a Mexican communications satellite, which was also lost.
Failures fail to cast shadow on Russia’s space ambitions
In April this year, a Soyuz rocket suffered a breakdown in the third stage after its launch. It was carrying an unmanned Progress cargo ship to the International Space Station. The Progress ship got stranded in low-orbit and lost communication with ground control. Eventually, Progress fell to Earth over the Pacific Ocean, which delayed the scheduled arrival of supplies to the ISS.
These setbacks have had little impact on Russia’s space ambitions. Russia is planning to set up a permanent base on Moon by 2030. Setting up a permanent Russian colony would require six launches of the Angara-A5V heavy-lift carrier rocket. Roscosmos plans to send a lander to the south pole of Moon by 2024 to identify locations for the future lunar bases. The manned mission will take place only after 2028.