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Russia postpones launch of reconnaissance satellite after Soyuz rocket crash

Staff Writer |
The launch of the electronic reconnaissance satellite Lotos-S using the Soyuz -2.1B rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome that was scheduled for October 19, "has been postponed indefinitely due to the accident at the Baikonur cosmodrome," reported TASS on Saturday, citing a source in the rocket and space industry.

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According to the agency’s source, the Soyuz-FG rocket used to put in orbit the manned spacecrafts Soyuz MS-10 and Soyuz-2.1B has the same first stage strap-on boosters.

Problems with one of the boosters that failed to separate from the second stage at the 119th second after the launch could have been led to the crash of Soyuz. Because of this, launches of all rockets of the Soyuz-2 series have been suspended pending further investigation.

Lotos-2 was expected to replace the Russian Defense Ministry's Soviet-era Tselina-2 and US-PU satellites. They are operated by the main department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and used for naval and space reconnaissance and targeting.

The Soyuz MS-10 accident happened on October 11, during the launch of the rocket to the international space station. The capsule with crew landed in Kazakhstan. The members of the mission MCS-57/58, Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovnichin and American astronaut Nick Hague were not injured.

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