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Russia Regains Control of Newly Launched Monitor-E Satellite

Russia Regains Control of Newly Launched Monitor-E Satellite
A Rockot booster sits on its Plesetsk Cosmodrome launch pad awaiting liftoff.

Russianflight controllers have regained control of a small Earth-watching spacecraftthat suffered a communications glitch shortly after launching spacewardFriday.

Despite asuccessful launch atop a Rockot booster from Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome at2:34 p.m. EDT (1834 GMT) on Friday, flight controllers lost contact with theirMonitor-E satellite after it reached orbit, the Russian news agency Interfaxreported.

But hourslater contact was restored and the spacecraft in good health, Interfax stated.

"Acommunication session has been held and control has been regained of thesatellite," a source with Khrunichev StateResearch and Production Space Center, which developed Monitor-E, toldInterfax.

Accordingto the Khrunichev center, Monitor-E is an experimental satellite equipped withtwo optical-electronic cameras that will be used for remote sensing studies ofthe Earth.

Primaryscience targets for Monitor-E include surface mapping, studies of the effectsof pollution, as well as monitoring of emergency situations, such as natural orhuman-caused disasters.

The1,653-pound (750-kilogram) satellite is designed to fly 335 miles (540 kilometers) above Earth in a Sun-synchronousorbit for a mission lifetime of about five years, Khrunichev officials said.

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Tariq Malik

SPACE.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF — Tariq joined the Space.com team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook.