Source Pravda.Ru

FSA: Telstar-18's launch failure not accident, but recoverable contingency event

The orbiting failure of the Telstar-18 satellite, launched on June 29 by the Zenith booster under the Sea Launch program, is not an accident, but a recoverable contingency event, says Russia's Federal Space Agency (FSA).

The Agency's spokesman told RIA Novosti on Wednesday that "the FSA experts did not qualify the launch as abnormal".

According to him, the situation analysis, undertaken by the Sea Launch company's experts, shows that it is technically possible to use the Teltsar-18's own engines to bring it to its specified stand point (138° east longitude). Pre-estimates show that the satellite's service life has reduced insignificantly.

"If the insertion phase is successful, the Telstar-18's service life will be 13 instead of 15 years", explained the FSA spokesman.

The Zenith-3SL booster was launched from the Odyssey ocean-based platform on June 29, at 07.52 Moscow time. The booster's first and second stages as well as the DM upper stage during the first ignition operated in the regular mode under the pre-calculated flight profile.

However, the upper stage's cruise engine finished operation 50 seconds before the scheduled time after the second ignition, which placed the spacecraft to the off-target orbit with the perigee of 737 kilometers and the apogee of 21,000 kilometers.

The Sea Launch project is the first-ever entirely commercial international project on development and operation of a sea-based space rocket system.

The Sea Launch space rocket system is designed to place different-purpose spacecraft to the earth orbits including high circular orbits, elliptic orbits, various inclination orbits and the geostationary orbit. The launches are carried out from the ocean-based platform in the Pacific Ocean's equatorial zone in the vicinity of the Christmas Island by the Zenith-3SL space booster incorporating the DM-SL upper-stage.

Established for the project implementation was the international Sea Launch company with the founders being US Boeing Commercial Space Company (40% of the capital stock), Russia's Energy Space Rocket Company (25%), Norway's Kvaerner Maritime a.s. (20%) and the Ukraine's aerospace enterprises including the Yuzhmashzavpod production enterprise and the Yuzhnoe state design bureau (15%).

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