Sunday, December 05, 2010

Space launch: what's Russian for "Oh, (*$%*$?"

A Russian Proton rocket carrying three Glonass navigation satellites into space has instead entered "reef-level orbit" by dumping its cargo into the Pacific. The three satellites were supposed to to complete the 24-satellite constellation, a rival to the U.S. GPS system. The satellites lie 1,500km northwest of Honolulu.
COMMENT: It's never been clear to me what the point is of Glonass or Europe's Galileo system, set up as rivals to an American constellation which provides free service to any user anywhere in the world. I suppose these expensive expressions of national pride at least promote global expertise in space engineering, which may pay other dividends down the road.

No comments: