|Launch vehicle||Rokot/Briz-KM (Rokot KM)|
|Launch site||Plesetsk, Russia|
|Date/Time||2011-02-01 1400 UTC|
|Description||Upper stage failure?|
|Desired orbit||1,000 km Sun-synchronous|
The GEO-IK-2 spacecraft ended up in a useless orbit after launch.
"Preliminary reports indicate that the GEO-IK-2 satellite was placed in an unplanned orbit. Apparently the Briz-KM upper stage failed to place the satellite in the designed orbit at the altitude of 1,000 kilometers," an industry source said.
According to U.S. tracking data, the spacecraft is in an elliptical 320 km x 1,040 km orbit. This could indicate that the rocket's Briz-KM upper stage failed to fire a second time as required for deploying its payload into the planned solar-synchronous orbit.
GEO-IK-2 is a dual-use spacecraft designed to survey land and create a detailed three-dimensional map of the Earth.
The Rokot lightweight launch vehicle is based on the converted Russian RS-18 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile internationally known as SS-19. The first two stages are RS-18, and a Briz-KM is used as upper stage. Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center (KhSC) manufactures the Rokot launch vehicle and the Briz KM upper stage. Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems built the GEO-IK-2 satellite.
Before this launch there have been six flights of the Rokot/Briz-KM combination, all of which were successful. The launcher is commercially operated by Eurockot Launch Services GmbH, a German-Russian partnership in which EADS Space Transportation