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Russian satellites crash into Pacific Ocean

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MOSCOW — Three Russian navigation satellites crashed into the Pacific off the US state of Hawaii Sunday after the rocket carrying them failed to reach orbit, officials from the Russian space agency said.

The capsule carrying the three Glonass satellites plummeted into the sea 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) off Honolulu, one official told Russia’s RIA-Novosti news agency, adding that there had been no casualties.

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The failure is a setback for Russia’s attempt to put a satellite navigation system in place to rival the United States’ GPS (Global Positioning System) and steal a march on Europe’s fledgling Galileo system.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has underscored the strategic significance of developing the Glonass system to ensure Russia’s technological independence.

“According to preliminary data, the Proton rocket that took off from Baikonur at 1:25 pm (1025 GMT) took a wrong trajectory,” said a Russian space agency source cited by Interfax.

“Consequently, the booster rocket could not put the satellites in the intended orbit and it fell back with them into the atmosphere,” the source added.

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Once separated from the Proton rocket, a second-stage booster rocket with the three satellites aboard should have put them in orbit about 20 kilometers (12 miles) above the earth.

“The ballistics experts have checked everything: the upper-stage rocket with the satellites is not on the main, intermediate nor emergency orbit,” a source told RIA Novosti.

The three Glonass-M satellites, weighing 1.4 tonnes, were supposed to complete a constellation of satellites already put in place by Moscow.

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Putin said in April that Russia planned to equip all new cars sold in Russia in 2012 with the new navigation system, developed by the Russian military in the 1980s.

He said Moscow planned to launch a total of seven new Glonass satellites which would ensure coverage of the entire planet, bringing to 27 or 28 the number of operational satellites.

Russia would spend 1.7 billion rubles (40 million dollars) in 2011, after two billion rubles spent in 2010, Putin said.

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Rokosmos, the Russian space agency, said in 2008 that Venezuela and Cuba were interested in adopting the new system.

Russia’s defense ministry confirmed the loss, but insisted Sunday’s accident would not affect the roll-out of the new positioning system.

“There are currently 26 satellites in the Glonass constellation, including two emergency satellites. This allows complete coverage of Russian Federation territory,” the ministry said in a statement.

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“The Russian space industry’s capacity enables us to react rapidly to what’s happened,” it said, adding that the system would be fully in place next year in any case.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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WATCH: Trump’s collusion with Russia is now a topic for impeachment — along with obstruction and racism

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President Donald Trump's interactions with Russia are now a topic of the impeachment investigation.

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