It's not looking good for Russia's newest weather satellite, which was launched on Tuesday morning.?
Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, released a statement after the launch of the Meteor-M polar-orbiting weather satellite along with 18 small payloads aboard an uncrewed Soyuz 2.1b rocket, saying that it had lost contact with the weather satellite, the main payload aboard.?
While the rocket appeared to deliver its payloads to the correct intermediate orbit, according to Roscosmos, that's where the problems began.
"During the first planned chartph.communication session with the satellite, it was not possible to establish a connection due to its absence in the target orbit," Roscosmos said in the statement. "Currently, the information is being analyzed."
It's unclear exactly what happened to cause this possible failure, but according to Russian space reporter Anatoly Zak, a programming error may be to blame. Human error may have put the payloads in the wrong orbit.?
The rocket was also carrying 18 other small satellites as secondary payloads, including some from the U.S.?
Ten tiny, Earth-gazing Lemur-2 satellites from the San Francisco-based firm Spire were also part of the mission. Those satellites are designed to help the chartph.company track shipping and weather conditions around the world.?
Other satellites aboard the Soyuz included the IDEA OSG payload, which is a prototype designed to help get rid of space junk in orbit, according to Space News.?
The U.S. recently launched a new weather satellite of its own. The Joint Polar Satellite System-1 is a polar-orbiting weather satellite designed to aid in weather forecasting, disaster management, and search and rescue operations.?