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Thursday, September 10, 1998 Published at 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK


World: Europe

Satellite launch flops



The Russian launch of 12 American communications satellites has failed, four and a half minutes after the mission took off.

According to Itar-Tass news agency, the engines of the rocket carrying the satellites shut down. A faulty command in the rocket's control system is being blamed.

The Zenit rocket and the satellites of the future Globalstar telecommunications network are believed to have crashed in the Khakasskaya region north of the Altai mountain range in Siberia.

The launch, from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan, was to have earned the Russian space agency about $30m.

The satellites belonged to Globalstar Telecommunications Ltd, an international consortium led by Loral Space and Communications in the United States.

They were to have formed part of a $2.6bn communications system using 48 satellites.



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