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Russia's space pride suffered another blow today when a booster rocket launch failed, a mishap that came a day after NASA successfully landed a robotic vehicle on Mars.
A Russian booster rocket failed to place two communications satellites into a designated orbit, officials said.
The Globe and Mail reported Russia’s Roscosmos space agency said the Proton-M rocket was launched just before midnight Monday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
It said the booster’s first stages were successful, but the upper stage intended to give the final push to the satellites switched off earlier than expected.
As a result, the engine’s malfunction stranded the Russian Express MD-2 and Indonesia’s Telkom-3 satellites in a low orbit, which would have made it impossible for space officials to recover them, Russian news agencies reported.
The Indonesian satellite was Russian-made.
CBC News reported the failure comes a day after NASA landed a roving laboratory the size of a compact car on Mars after an an eight-month, 566-million-kilometre journey from Earth.
In November, a Russian robotic probe designed to study a moon of Mars got stranded in Earth orbit and eventually came crashing down in January.