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Yamal-402 enters GEO
Posted: Sat, Dec 15, 2012, 4:35 PM ET (2135 GMT)
A Russian communications satellite launched a week ago but placed in an incorrect orbit has reached geostationary orbit, but at the cost of several years' worth of propellant. A Proton rocket launched the Yamal-402 satellite on December 8, but the final burn of the rocket's Breeze-M upper stage ended four minutes early, leaving the satellite in the wrong transfer orbit. Russian officials said the European-built satellite performed four maneuvers using its own thrusters to raise its orbit to GEO. The extra propellant used in those thruster burns, though, used propellant designed for stationkeeping, and as a result the spacecraft's on-orbit lifetime will be reduced from 15 to 11 years. An investigation into the Breeze M anomaly is underway.
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