MOSCOW, December 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s troubled Yamal-402 satellite should reach its designated geostationary orbit on Saturday when it uses its engine for the fourth time, Gazprom Space Systems (GSS) company said on Friday.
The maneuver is part of a four-step recovery plan developed by aerospace company Thales Alenia Space to get the satellite into its target orbit after it suffered a premature separation from the upper stage of a Russian Proton-M carrier rocket after launch last Saturday.
The satellite has been steadily approaching the designated point on its geostationary orbit, a company spokesman said earlier.
The Yamal-402 satellite was built by Thales Alenia Space for GSS, the telecommunications arm of Russian energy giant Gazprom, to provide communication links over most of Russia, the CIS, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The satellite, equipped with 46 Ku-band transponders, was launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on December 8 but separated from its upper stage four minutes early due to an apparent glitch in the Briz-M booster. The failure was not the first for Briz, which has a less than perfect reliability record.
Even if the four-stage recovery operation is successful, the service life of the satellite will be reduced from 15 to 11 years due to the emergency use of some of its fuel reserves.
The Yamal-402 is the second telecoms satellite launched for the GSS this year. A Yamal-300K telecoms satellite, built by Russia’s Reshetnev space company, was successfully orbited on November 3. Its coverage extends to 95 percent of Russian territory.