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European satellite crashes into sea after launch
www.chinaview.cn 2005-10-09 04:17:24

    MOSCOW, Oct. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- The Russian Space Forces said Saturday a European satellite carried by a Russian rocket might have crashed into the sea after it lost contact with the satellite two hours after liftoff.

    The Cryosat satellite did not respond to a communication command six minutes after the Rokot rocket carrying it blasted off from northern Russia and as a result, the second stage of the carrier rocket failed to separate, General Oleg Gromov, deputy commander of the Space Forces, told the Itar-Tass news agency.

    "We believe the satellite fell into the sea near the Arctic," Gromov said.

    Viktor Remishevsky, deputy director of the Russian Federal Space Agency, said space experts have done preliminary analysis of the problem and concluded that the nose cone of the rocket had failed to detach due to a fault in the control system.

    The European Space Agency's Cryosat satellite was designed to collect data on polar ice to help scientists gain a new understanding of global warming.

    It was to study, with radar altimeters, ice sheets that cover Greenland and the Antarctic land and the sea ice in the polar regions.

    The Rokot rocket, converted from the RS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile, soared into the sky from the Plesetsk space center at 19:02 Moscow time (1502 GMT). The satellite was supposed to reach orbit one and an half hours after the launch but space engineers failed to establish contact with it two hours after liftoff.

    Russian space officials said launches of the Rokot rockets have been suspended. Enditem 

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