Russia loses contact with first Angolan satellite, new setback
Photo provided on December 27, 2017 by Roscosmos showing the launch of the Zenit-2SB rocket carrying Angosat-1, the first Angolan telecom satellite, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan
Russia lost contact on Wednesday with Angola’s first Angosat-1 telecom satellite, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, raising fears of another setback one month after the embarrassing loss of another device.
“The contact has stopped temporarily, we have lost the telemetry”, told AFP a source in the Russian space sector, saying hope to restore contact with the satellite built by the Russian giant of aerospace RSC Energia and whose cost is estimated at $ 280 million.
Another source questioned by the state agency Ria Novosti said that Russian experts had 11 hours to restore contact before a permanent loss.
This satellite was successfully launched on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT from Baikonur, carried by a Ukrainian rocket, a rare fact because of bad relations between Russia and Ukraine, and put into orbit soon after.
The Zenit-2SB rocket carrying Angosat-1 to its orbit was supplied by the Ukrainian firm Yuzhmash. Since 2014, date of the annexation of Crimea by Russia, it is a joint launch rare for both countries.
Photo provided on December 27, 2017 by the firm Roscosmos showing the Zenit-2SB rocket carrying Angosat-1, the first Angolan telecom satellite, on its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan
Angola and Russia agreed in 2009 to launch Angosat-1, whose 15-year mission is to improve satellite communications, internet access, and communications services. radio-television in Africa.
Some 50 Angolan engineers have been trained, including Brazil, China and Japan. Russia must supervise its operation from a control center built near Luanda.
– Serial failures –
The loss of contact with this Angolan satellite is raising fears of another failure for the Russian space sector, a month after the loss of a weather satellite launched from the new Russian cosmodrome Vostochny in the Far East.
This base, whose work has been peppered with multiple corruption cases, is supposed to symbolize the rebirth of the Russian space industry, source of immense pride in the Soviet era before suffering from lack of funding after the fall of the Soviet Union. USSR.
The Russian space agency, Roskosmos, explained in December the loss of the weather satellite by an “error in a computer algorithm”, excluding a problem in the infrastructure of the new cosmodrome.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Space Dmitry Rogozin, however, strongly criticized Roskosmos, accusing him of seeking to cover those responsible.
The sector has already experienced several resounding setbacks in 2015 and 2016, such as the loss of a Progress cargo ship to refuel the International Space Station, the failure of a Proton launcher or the discovery of defects on most engines produced for rockets to orbit satellites.
In October, Roskosmos also admitted that a capsule bringing ISS astronauts back to Earth in April had been depressurized shortly after it was back in the air, without danger to the crew.
Russian space ambitions, however, do not seem to be disturbed by the sector’s disappointments, with Roskosmos announcing in September that it has joined the American plan to create an orbital station around the moon, while Moscow is already planning to to build a scientific base and make its first lunar flights by 2031.