Putin’s botched Ukraine invasion takes another blow as rocket launch fails spectacularly

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The Angara-1 rocket, last tested in April, launched a Russian military satellite into orbit. But embarrassingly, the payload delivered into space is thought to have a significant issue and may even fall straight back down to Earth. Space journalist Anatoly Zak wrote on Twitter: “A classified payload, delivered into orbit in the first launch of the Angara-1 rocket last month, appears to be inactive and will fall back to Earth without manoeuvres.”

A report has claimed that the satellite was never even activated in the April launch due to a change in the orbit of the Kosmos-2555 that was never resolved.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer from the Center for Astrophysics. Tweeted: “The Kosmos-2555 payload, launched on the Angara-1.2 test flight on April 29, has not made any orbital manoeuvres and is now expected to make an uncontrolled reentry on Tuesday.

“I’m now wondering if it was just a mock-up and not an operational satellite.”

The Kosmos-2555 was reportedly intended for the Russian military.

This comes amid the Ukraine war, where Russia’s military has reportedly not been able to achieve its desired goals.

And satellites have not been absent from the conflict.

The Foreign Office announced last week that Russian Military Intelligence was “almost certainly” involved in both the defacement of Ukrainian government websites and the deployment of destructive WhisperGate malware against Ukraine on January 13.

According to experts from the National Cyber Security Centre, Russia was also almost certainly responsible for the cyberattack against the high-speed satellite broadband firm Viasat that occurred around one hour before Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine.

Russia lags behind the West in its military satellites with too few of them possessing high-quality capabilities, according to experts from Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (RFERL).

And while Ukraine does not have its own fleet of military satellites, the West has been providing assistance with intelligence data, including real-time data on the movement of Russian troop movements.

But Russia “has long been saddled with a small and inadequate fleet of communications and surveillance satellites that in many cases rely on either outdated technology or imported parts that are now harder to come by due to Western sanctions”, RFERL reports.

Bart Hendrix, an expert on Russian space programmes, said: “In principle, Russia is already practically blind in orbit.”

But Russia has been attempting to boost its military satellite fleet.

In March, a Soyuz rocket reportedly launched the military satellite into orbit a month after Russia invaded Ukraine.

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It was reportedly a satellite from the “Meridian” series.

Russia’s state-owned media, Ria Novosti, reported: “Satellites of the ‘Meridian’ series provide communication between sea vessels and ice reconnaissance aircraft in the area of the Northern Sea Route with coastal and ground stations.

“Also, the devices expand the capabilities of satellite communication stations in the northern regions of Siberia and the Far East.”

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