February 24, 2020

02.02.11: A Russian Satellite Goes Astray.

The first launch of February sees a payload stuck in an elliptical transfer orbit, and an interesting opportunity for amateur observers. Yesterday, at 14:00 UT/9:00 AM EST, a Russian Rockot launch vehicle carrying GEO-IK2 lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. A military research satellite, GEO-IK2 has the dual role of providing research into plate tectonics and geodesics for both civilian and military applications (re: pinpoint positioning technology and mapping). Lifted aloft by the two-stage ballistic missile, a Breeze KM upper stage was to fire and deploy GEO-IK2 into a 600 mile orbit… and that’s where the finicky fate of rocket science struck.

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