Russian Launch Failure Dooms Navigation Satellites

A Russian Proton-M rocket carrying three Glonass-M navigation satellites deviated from its intended course on liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. As a result, the three satellites never reached their proper orbit during the Dec. 4 launch and instead plunged into the Pacific Ocean more than 900 miles northwest of Honolulu, Hawaii, reported Monday. The three satellites were meant to complete Russia’s Glonass constellation, which at full strength will have 24 spacecraft, plus several on-orbit spares. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an investigation into the incident, reported RIA Novosti.