Russia has lost contact with its brand new weather satellite

28 Nov 2017

A Roscosmos Soyuz spacecraft taking off. Image: Roscosmos/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Russian space agency has confirmed that it has lost contact with its new weather-monitoring satellite.

In a crushing blow for the Russian space agency, Roscosmos is facing the reality of the loss of its new weather satellite.

The upper stage of the Soyuz delivery spacecraft was carrying the Meteor M2-1 satellite, a new weather instrument that was being sent on a five-year mission to collect data for the country’s weather agency, Roshydromet.

The spacecraft was launched from Vostochny spaceport at 8.41am Moscow time and contained not only the Meteor M2-1 satellite, but 18 other satellites on board as well.

“The first scheduled communication session has failed to establish contact with the satellite due to its absence from the designated orbit,” a Roscosmos spokesperson said. “Analysis of the current situation is underway.”

Roscosmos added that the Soyuz craft was confirmed to have brought the payload to intermediate orbit, but contact was lost from that point.

Reports of sightings

According to Spaceflight Now, the Meteor M2-1 satellite was seen as crucial to Russia’s contribution to the new emergency communications Cospas-Sarsat network, as it was equipped with sensors to detect and report distress signals located on Earth.

The 18 other satellites were put aboard the craft from a range of companies and institutions from Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the US.

This was only the second launch from Russia’s new multibillion-dollar spaceport in the far east as the country looks to move away from relying on the Baikonur Cosmodrome base in Kazakhstan.

Initial reports that something was wrong with the launch were coming in through message boards such as, which potentially linked a fireball seen in the skies over Scotland and Belgium with the failed mission.

A Roscosmos Soyuz spacecraft taking off. Image: Roscosmos/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic