Contact with Foton-M research satellite disrupted
The Samara-based research and production space rocket center Progress is analyzing the situation with research satellite Foton-M No. 4 after contact with it has been disrupted.
"Specialists of the main mission control group are currently working to establish sustainable contact with the satellite and implement the planned program for the flight," the Progress company, which built Foton-M, said on its website.
No problems were detected during either the launch of the satellite, the powered portion of its flight or its separation from the launch vehicle.
"After the satellite was put into orbit in accordance with the mission task, all onboard systems of the satellite were tested, the required orientation of the satellite was conducted and a series of scientific experiments was launched. All onboard systems of the satellite were operating normally," it said.
"However, after completing several laps around the Earth, the satellite became unable to respond to commands issued by the Earth-based mission control center," it said.
"We are receiving telemetry from the satellite confirming that all of its systems continue to function. We are processing and analyzing this information. The results of our analysis show that all support systems of the satellite are operating in strict compliance with the logic of the work of the spacecraft's onboard control complex. Its configuration and onboard equipment allow the satellite to function autonomously for a lengthy period of time," it said.
According to earlier news reports, Russia's Mission Control Center encountered problems with the Foton-M4 research spacecraft, which stopped responding to commands. The Foton-M4 research spacecraft carrying 22 sets of scientific equipment on board was launched on July 19 and was expected to spend 60 days in orbit.
Foton-M4 was intended to stage experiments in the field of zero gravity physics, production of improved semiconductor materials and bio-medical preparations, as well as biology and bio-technology in a micro-gravity environment.