Russian comm satellite crashes in Siberia
A communications satellite plummeted to the Earth after its Soyuz-2 carrier rocket failed to reach orbit shortly after lifting off from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.
According to Interfax, the loss of the Meridian communications satellite (which may or may not have been insured) could total two billion rubles, or approximately $65 million.
The crash left Kremlin officials understandably red-faced, as the latest incident marked the fifth failed space mission for Russia in 2011.
Indeed, Russia recently lost contact with the $170 million Phobos-Grunt mission, which was originally slated to land on Phobos, the larger of Mars' two moons.
Although the European Space Agency (ESA) eventually re-established contact with the spacecraft stuck in low Earth orbit, pieces of the ship subsequently broke off and re-entered the atmosphere.
"This area of the space industry is in sort of a crisis," Russian space agency chief Vladimir Popovin acknowledged during a press conference on Friday.
"We can say even now that the problem lies in the engine... But more analysis is needed [for us] to be certain."
Meanwhile, media reports indicate that a 5kg titanium ball from the Meridian satellite crashed into the Siberian house of Andrei Krivorukov. Fortunately, Krivorukov had left his home to collect some wood for his stove just seconds before the wayward ball impacted.