Russian Rocket Fails U.S. Satellite

An unmanned Russian rocket failed to put a U.S. telecommunication satellite into its target orbit because of a malfunction after liftoff Saturday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

"The second booster module switched off earlier than expected, which resulted in the craft failing to reach its designated target orbit," said the state-controlled Khrunichev State Research and Production Center, which made the Proton-M rocket carrying the satellite.

A state commission will review the incident, but it may take up to a month to provide a full account of what happened, said Vyacheslav Davidenko, a deputy spokesman for the center.

The Federal Space Agency said the satellite could still be steered but that it was 8,000 kilometers short of its planned altitude of 36,000 kilometers.

The AMC-14 satellite was designed and manufactured by Lockheed-Martin and has a service life of up to 15 years.