Russian space officials have admitted that a sophisticated satellite designed to detect submerged submarines will explode in the atmosphere within days following a faulty launch.
The Canopus ST failed to part from its booster rocket after the Friday launch from the Plesetsk military cosmodrome in northwestern Russia, changing the planned trajectory, space officials told the Itar-Tass news agency on Monday.
According to Punch: The satellite, which took a decade to develop, was equipped with advanced cameras that could scan oceans, identify submarines underwater and detect forest fires that devastate Russia’s forests every year.
Moscow planned to launch four Canopus satellites, Viktor Selin, of the Russian Space Systems company, said last month.
The imminent loss of Canopus ST marks another disaster for Russia’s space industry that still prides itself on the launch of the first satellite and the first manned mission in human history.
“This is a systemic problem. We’re dealing with the leftovers of the Soviet space industry that have been in the deepest crisis in recent years,” Pavel Luzin, an independent industry expert, told Al Jazeera.
Military satellites are especially vulnerable because Russian engineers refrain from using foreign-made components citing security concerns.
“With military satellites trouble happens more often. Their life cycle is just two-three years,” said Luzin.