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Cryosat Launch Fails.


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ESA officials have confirmed that the Cryosat mission smashed into the Arctic ocean minutes after launch on Saturday. It was launched on board a Rockot vehicle - a converted SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missile - from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. The 135m euro satellite was designed to monitor ice thickness around the planet. Another version of the satellite may be constructed.

Cryosat launch.
Cryosat launch. It crashed back to Earth shortly after. Image credit: ESA.

Mr Yuri Bakhvalov, First Deputy Director General of the Khrunichev Space Centre on behalf of the Russian State Commission officially confirmed that the launch of CryoSat ended in a failure due to an anomaly in the launch sequence and expressed his regret to ESA and all partners involved.

Preliminary analysis of the telemetry data indicates that the first stage performed nominally. The second stage performed nominally until main engine cut-off was to occur. Due to a missing command from the onboard flight control system the main engine continued to operate until depletion of the remaining fuel.

As a consequence, the separation of the second stage from upper stage did not occur. Thus, the combined stack of the two stages and the CryoSat satellite fell into the nominal drop zone north of Greenland close to the North Pole into high seas with no consequences to populated areas.

An investigating commission by the Russian State authorities has been established to further analyze the reasons for the failure, results are expected within the next weeks. This commission will work in close cooperation with a failure investigation board consisting of Eurockot, ESA and Khrunichev representatives.

This information is released at the same time by Eurockot and ESA.

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