Russia lost the ability to send commands to most of its satellites and its segment of the International Space Station, following a power cable failure near Moscow, reports The Telegraph.
“We have not had a connection with the ground telemetry stationed in Russia for the past two hours,” Russian International News Agency (RIA Novosti) quoted an unidentified source in the Russian space industry as saying. “They can see the crew and can talk to them, but they cannot send any commands to the Russian segments.”
“A cable broke in the Moscow area, but that’s not affecting the work of automatic space systems and the International Space Station,” Alexey Kuznetsov, head of Roskosmos’s press office, said today by phone from Moscow. “Everything is under control.”
The director of a Moscow region institute in charge of satellite and ISS communication told the Interfax news agency that the power cut appeared to have been caused by basic road repair work.
In other Russian space news, Russia’s Space Forces launched on Wednesday a dual-purpose Meridian-series telecoms satellite. The satellite was put into a designated orbit at around 06.00 p.m Moscow time (15:00 GMT) and Russian operators “have established a reliable communications and data link with the spacecraft,” the spokesman said.
Built by ISS Reshetnev, a Russian space contractor, the Meridian satellites are replacements for Molniya communications satellites covering high latitude regions of Russia.
Meridian-series communication satellites are used for both civilian and military purposes. They are designed to provide communication between vessels, airplanes and coastal stations on the ground, as well as to expand a network of satellite communications in the northern regions of Siberia and the Russian Far East.
In the anticipation of the launch, a newly appointed Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu arrived at Plesetsk. Along with witnessing the liftoff of Meridian, Shoygu was expected to tour the yet-to-be-completed launch facility for the Angara rocket which is intended to become the mainstay of the Russian unmanned launcher fleet in the future.
AEHF-1 and AEHF-2 are both (finally) on orbit with AEHF-3 planned for a September 2013 launch. A single AEHF satellite provides greater total capacity than the entire legacy five-satellite Milstar constellation.