GLONASS Triple Satellite Launch Suffers Rare Failure

A Proton rocket carrying three modernized GLONASS (GLONASS-M) satellites failed to reach orbit following its launch Sunday (December 5, 2010), falling into the Pacific Ocean.

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said that a special board had been established to investigate the event — rare for the GLONASS program — and "define next steps."

A Proton rocket carrying three modernized GLONASS (GLONASS-M) satellites failed to reach orbit following its launch Sunday (December 5, 2010), falling into the Pacific Ocean.

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said that a special board had been established to investigate the event — rare for the GLONASS program — and "define next steps."

Reportedly the booster rocket went off its planned trajectory from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and could not reach orbit. If launched successfully, the trio of satellites would probably have allowed Russia to declare a full operational constellation for its GNSS system.

As of December 5, GLONASS had 20 healthy satellites transmitting signals and another four spacecraft in maintenance status.

R&S 2019