MOSCOW, Aug. 18 (UPI) — Russia’s space agency says it has located a satellite that went missing and failed to communicate with ground controllers after its Thursday launch.
The Express-AM4 satellite was launched atop a Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan but mission control failed in attempts to establish communication with it, RIA Novosti reported.
A spokesman for the Roscosmos space agency said the satellite and its final stage booster, Briz-M, had gone into an unintended orbit following a malfunction in the launching Proton-M booster.
Roscosmos said the first four engine burns by the Proton-M rocket worked properly but problems occurred before the fifth burn due to a communications malfunction with the space vehicle, Xinhua reported.
The 5.8-ton satellite was equipped with 63 transponders operating in several frequency bands intended to provide digital television, telephone and Internet services across Russia and other former Soviet Union countries
The satellite’s launch and orbital operation was insured for $259 million, RIA Novosti said.
A commission will be set up to investigate the cause of the malfunction, Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin said