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Russia lost a $45m satellite because of a launchpad mix-up

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Rachel England, @rachel_england
December 28, 2017
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Despite Russia's ambitious plans for space domination, it hasn't had a great deal of luck bringing its designs to fruition. The Roscosmos program's budget was slashed in 2015 (because of "moral decay") and in April last year a technical glitch postponed the launch of its first rocket from the Vostochny cosmodrome. Now, the team has straight-up lost a satellite after setting it to launch from the wrong place.

The 2.6 billion-rouble ($45 million) satellite -- the Meteor M -- was launched last month from Vostochny, with Roscosmos losing contact with it shortly after. It then emerged that the rocket carrying the satellite had been programmed with the wrong coordinates, and had instead been given bearings for far-off cosmodrome Baikonur. Deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin blamed the snafu on an "embarrassing programming error", which isn't going to instill much confidence in future guests of Russia's space hotel, also announced this week.

Update: In a statement, the Roscosmos agency offered a different explanation from Rogozin's statement on the Rossiya 24 channel, blaming it simply on "improper algorithms" in the control system.

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