Russia Still Looking For Quick Bird Satellite Fault
Russian specialists cannot yet reach a final conclusion about the reasons behind the fault of the U.S. Quick Bird satellite launched in the small hours of November 21 from the Russian cosmodrome Plesetsk.
An ad hoc commission formed at Plesetsk, having analyzed all technical documentation and the course of the pre-launch routine, has concluded that the teams involved in launching the Kosmos-3M booster rocket with the U.S. satellite aboard performed their duties irreproachably, a source with Russian space circles has told Interfax. The fuelling of the rocket and the pre-launch tests on the control systems were carried out fully in line with prescribed regulations.
Media reports alleging that Quick Bird's docking with the Russian rocket was carried out exclusively by American specialists do not correspond to reality, the source said. All operations were conducted at an assembly test facility jointly by U.S. specialists, experts from Omsk's aerospace company 'Polyot' and representatives from the Russian Strategic Missile Forces.
In the experts' view, the accident occurred after the first spiral due to the incorrect functioning of the flight control system when the Kosmos-3M's second-stage engines were operating. All this happened out of reach of the Russian ground instrumentation control centers' radar.
The spacecraft might have gone into a non-calculated orbit and therefore could not be located by the control instrumentation centers, the experts conjectured. They also said the satellite might have dropped to the ground. Preliminary calculations indicate that, in this case, its fragments could have fallen into the Atlantic near the Brazilian coast.
At the moment, an ad hoc state commission is being formed comprising specialists from the Russian Aerospace Agency and Defense Ministry. The commission is to thoroughly analyze all telemetric information recorded by the ground instrumentation control centers located outside St. Petersburg. In addition, the Russian side has forwarded inquiries to the U.S. centers monitoring Quick Bird's flight with the use of telemetric information.
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EO Bird Makes A Quick Exit After Failed Orbital Insertion
Moscow (Interfax) Nov. 21, 2000
The U.S. satellite Quick Bird launched in the early hours of Tuesday entered its orbit but disappeared from the visibility zone of Russian radio equipment and does not respond to the signals sent by Russian ground stations, the Russian Defense Ministry main center for spacecraft testing and control has told Interfax.
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