UPDATE 2-Russian satellites crash after failed launch

* Space centre reports launch failure

* Satellites may have landed near Hawaii – agencies

* Satellites part of Russia’s GLONASS navigation project

* Putin has called GLONASS “satellite sovereignty”

(Adds details, quotes, background, companies)

By Jessica Bachman

MOSCOW, Dec 5 (BestGrowthStock) – Three Russian satellites crashed
into the Pacific Ocean on Sunday after a failed launch, in a
setback to a Kremlin project designed as a rival to the widely
used U.S. GPS navigation technology.

Russian news agencies said the satellites veered off course
and crashed near Hawaii after blasting off from Russia’s
Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan.

The Khrunichev Space Center said the satellites had failed
to enter the right orbit after the launch went wrong 10 minutes
after take-off.

In a separate statement, space agency Roscosmos said that,
“according to the results of our telemetric analysis, it has
been determined that the group of satellites went off orbit.”

Both agencies said specialists were trying to work out what
went wrong.
The satellites were the last of a batch of 24 at the heart
of Russia’s GLONASS, or Global Navigation System,
its answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS).

SETBACK TO SATELLITE SOVEREIGNTY

The launch failure could delay what Russian Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin has called “satellite navigation sovereignty,”
and Russia’s attempt to stimulate its economy by having domestic
firms mass produce GLONASS consumer devices. [ID:nLDE67A0JC]

The state has spent $2 billion in the last 10 years on the
project, being developed by oil-to-telecoms holding company
Sistema (SSAq.L: ).

The Russian government has also proposed a series of
protectionist, anti-GPS measures to encourage GLONASS’ adoption.

Roscosmos said on Sunday before the launch failure that
GLONASS would become operational in six weeks.

In October, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Russia
was looking to introduce duties of around 25 percent by 2012 on
the import of mobile phones without the GLONASS navigation
system. [ID:nLDE69Q1NB]

In August, the head of the GLONASS operator, Alexander
Gurko, said that Nokia (NOK1V.HE: ), Motorola (MOT.N: ) and Qualcomm
(QCOM.O: ) were in talks with Russian chip manufacturers about the
mass production of GLONASS handheld devices. [ID:nLDE67A0JC].

Gurko also said that the Russian satellite navigation
market, estimated at only $1 billion in 2010, would grow to
about $10 billion in 2014 and that GLONASS would also market its
technology in India, the Middle East and ex-Soviet countries.

But the general director of M2M Electronics, a subcontractor
specialising in microelectronics for the Glonass programme, said
the failure to launch the satellites was “no great tragedy”.

Evgeny Belyanko told Russian state-owned news channel
Rossiya 24 that existing satellites already covered all of
Russia, had good coverage up to polar latitudes, and “perhaps
not quite as good” coverage of the equatorial region. “Therefore
the absence of these three satellites … will not have any
serious consequences.

There are currently 26 Glonass satellites in orbit, many of
them launched by the Proton-M carrier. Twenty of the 26 are in
working condition; two satellites are on standby; and four
satellites are under maintenance, Belyanko said.
(Writing by Jessica Bachman; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

UPDATE 2-Russian satellites crash after failed launch