Defense Ministry: Satellites that failed to enter designed orbits not a threat to ISS

Experts of the Russian Air and Space Defense Troops are monitoring the orbits of Express-MD2 and Telecom-3 satellites that were not put into the designed orbits on August 7, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry Col. Alexei Zolotukhin told Interfax-AVN.

"According to the Russian Air and Space Defense Troops command post, currently these satellites are not a threat to the International Space Station and space vehicles of the Russian orbital group," Zolotukhin said.

"Information on changes in the orbits of the space vehicles regularly obtained from special means of the Russian space control system allow experts of the Russian Air and Space Defense Troops to daily calculate and adjust forecast of probable approach of dangerous objects to the ISS," he said.

According to unofficial reports, Russian space control means found four objects in an undersigned orbit after a failed launch. Supposedly, these are Express-MD2 and Telecom-3 satellites, the Briz-M upper stage and an unidentified junction element. It is expects that the space vehicles detached from the upper stage after its engines stopped.

A Proton-M carrier rocket with a Briz-M upper stage and two communications satellites, Russia's Express-MD2 and Indonesia's Telkom-3, lifted off from Baikonur at 11:30 p.m. Moscow time on August 6. The carrier rocket operated normally. Subsequent delivery of the satellites was to be conducted with four engine firings of the upper stage. The third firing lasted less than it should have, and the fourth one did not happen.

The Khrunichev Space Center is the producer of the Proton-M rockets and Briz-M upper stages.

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