Russia trashes wounded comms satellite

Rescue plans ignored


Despite being the subject of numerous rescue plans, Russia's failed Express-AM4 satellite has been nudged into the atmosphere for a fiery end.

The Express-AM4 satellite launched on August 18th 2011, but failed to reach it's intended orbit and ended up in an unwelcome elipse. Several proposals suggested placing the satellite in a different orbit in which it could be useful even if it did not fulfil the original mission.

Russian Satellite Communications Company's (RSCC) Chief Financial Officer, Dennis Pivnyuk, told a recent conference that the bird was beyond hope. But a late bid by Polar Broadband, a company co-founded by former senior NASA personnel, asked for a stay of execution and suggested the satellite could beam broadband to remote parts of Antarctica where coverage is currently sporadic.

That idea fell on deaf ears, as Spaceflight Now reports the satellite “ was guided on a controlled descent by engineers [and] plummeted into Earth's atmosphere, burning up and spreading debris over the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii.”

Penguins deprived of better broadband were too upset to comment. ®


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