A failed satellite launch on top of Russia’s long-serving Proton rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, resulted in a $100-150 million loss.
The upper stage of the booster failed before the satellites reached the intended target for orbit, instead stranding them in a non-recoverable low orbit.
The two satellites lost were Indonesia’s Telkom-3 and Russia’s own Express MD2. The satellites, designed to provide telecom services for their respective countries, were estimated to have cost $100-150 million in total. The Telkom-3 was Indonesia’s first satellite purchase from Moscow.
Several notable launch failures by Russia in 2011, including the loss of samples from the Mars moon Phobos, have lowered confidence in the Russian space industry recently, and perhaps strengthened the position of its competitors. Russia will need to work hard to restore its reputation in this rapidly growing industry or risk being overtaken by contenders.