A Soyuz rocket crowned by a Fregat upper stage carrying 11 Russian, German and U.S. satellites into orbit lifted off Thursday from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East, the first flight from the country’s newest spaceport since a failure in November.
A senior Russian politician whose portfolio includes the country’s space program has blamed human error for a Nov. 28 launch failure that led to the destruction of a $45 million weather satellite and 18 secondary payloads, according to multiple news reports.
Russian officials could complete their investigation of a rocket failure Tuesday by mid-December, and multiple Russian news reports suggest the probe has narrowed to focus on the guidance computer on the Soyuz launcher’s Fregat upper stage.
A new Russian weather observatory and the first prototype for Telesat’s planned network of 100-plus broadband communications satellites in low Earth orbit were among 19 spacecraft feared lost after a Fregat rocket stage ran into trouble soon after liftoff aboard a Soyuz booster Tuesday.
A Soyuz rocket is scheduled to lift off Tuesday from a launch pad in Russia’s Far East with a new Russian weather satellite and 18 secondary payloads from companies and institutions in the United States, Canada, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Germany.
A Soyuz rocket streaked into sunny skies over a new multibillion-dollar Siberian spaceport Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin watching from a nearby viewing stand, opening another gateway to space for satellites, and eventually cosmonaut crews.