Nasa's 'James Webb Space Telescope' launches into orbit
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The new generation Angara A-5 heavy carrier rocket, which was Russia’s biggest launch since the fall of the Soviet Union, malfunctioned after the failure to make it to the necessary height. Although the rocket only contained a “mock-up” satellite, it was crucial to the Kremlin as a new military weapons delivery system.
Footage showed the spectacular unmanned launch from Plesetsk spaceport on Monday marking a new stage in Moscow’s space wars ambitions.
The Angara-5 rocket is meant to take advanced spy and weapons navigation satellites into orbit and may be used in moon missions.
It is the first heavy-lift launch vehicle used by the Russian space agency Roscosmos in decades.
The Angara and the Persei booster carried a mock satellite payload on this pioneering test flight and experts believe the Angara A-5 initial rocket launch worked but there was a failure with the later separation from the Persei booster.
It left the pretend satellite in low-Earth orbit and it is likely to crash down to Earth in weeks, according to Moscow newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.
The newspaper said that the Persei had to make five engine burns in the test mission, but it “malfunctioned” on the second.
As a result “the model satellite failed to reach its intended orbit 22,236 miles above sea level”.
The paper said: “This failure can be considered the first… full-fledged launch accident at Roscosmos [the Russian space agency] in the past three years.
“If a real satellite had been on board as a payload, it would have been lost.
“And this failure reminds us that it was possible to achieve high reliability in recent years only due to the fact that Roscosmos used old, long-proven technology.”
It comes amid fears of a Russian invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
Moskovsky Komsomolets [MK] reported that American space tracking service NORAD reported an unknown object “A”, numbered 50505.
“By all indications – this object is very similar to our Persei stuck in low orbit along with the payload model (satellite),” the paper continued.
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“If so, then a total of about 20 uncontrollable tonnes are flying over us, which will sooner or later fall.
“It will be good if it is in the Pacific Ocean.”
Most of it is expected to burn out as it reenters the atmosphere, though.
The question is where the leftovers will fall?
MK reported that the space agency has declined to give information on the launch.
Express.co.uk has reached out for clarification.
Russian officials claim that the Angara A5 is more environmentally friendly than its predecessors, as it uses oxygen and kerosene as fuel instead of toxic heptyl.
Russia hopes that the Angara family of rockets will help give them an edge in the “space wars” and also provide a boost to the nation’s private space industry.
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