MOSCOW, December 23 (RIA Novosti)
A Meridian satellite that on Friday was launched from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia on board a Soyuz-2 carrier rocket crashed near the Siberian city of Tobolskminutes after liftoff , a Defense Ministry source said.
“Early information suggests that the Soyuz-2 suffered a malfunction during the third stage and the satellite came down in Siberia,” the source said. “It has crashed near Tobolsk. The exact site is currently being established,” he added.
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. These satellites are designed to replace the older Molniya-series.
The Soyuz-2 is an upgraded version of the Soyuz rocket, which has been a workhorse of Russia's manned and unmanned space programs since the 1960s.
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