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Angara upper stage harmlessly reenters Earth

This photo shows preparation to test launch heavy-lift carrier rocket Angara-A5 at Russia’s Plesetsk launch facility in the northwestern region of Arkhangelsk, December 14, 2020. Credit: AP

Edinburgh / Washington, 7 January 2022. – Persei, the upper stage of the failed Angara-A5 launch on 27th December, harmlessly reentered over the South Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, the U.S. Space Force reported. Roscosmos did not provide any details on Persei and its 2400-kg payload after the launch nor did they acknowledge its malfunction.

Persei was stranded in LEO parking orbit for over a week before its uncontrolled re-entry far from inhabited areas. The stage was supposed to go to geostationary orbit by performing several engine burns, but malfunctioned during the second burn.

December’s launch was the first time that the Persei upper stage was used to deliver a mass simulator in orbit. Before that, the Briz-M upper stage was utilised twice, operating successfully. The launch fail might mean a setback in entering operational status for the launch vehicle.

Angara has been under development since 1992 and is planned to be the successor of the Proton rocket. The launch vehicle has not carried an operational payload into orbit yet.

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