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Russian military abandons defense satellite after failed launch

RIA Novosti

13:34 24/02/2011

MOSCOW, February 24 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian defense ministry said on Thursday it would not use a military satellite that was sent into the wrong orbit earlier this month.

The high-tech Geo-IK-2 was launched from the Plesetsk spaceport to help draw a three-dimensional map of the Earth.

"The satellite is lost for the defense ministry," First Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin told reporters on Thursday. "It will not be used for military purposes, but could still be used for checking control systems."

The setback followed the failed launch two months ago of a rocket with three Glonass communications satellites, dealing a major blow to Russia's ambitious space program.

Popovkin said at an arms show in Abu Dhabi on Sunday the satellite "can't perform its mission."

He added that a panel probing the incident hasn't completed its work, but preliminary information indicated the control system was to blame.

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