Monday, July 31, 2006

MEROPE Victim of Russian Rocket Failure

It's crushing to see anyone's good work go up in flames moments before it is to be unveiled. Unfortunately, so it was with the Montana Earth-Orbiting Pico-Explorer satellite or MEROPE, the first satellite built in Montana.

MEROPE was just one of 13 nano-sats lost in the failed launch of a Dnepr rocket from it's Baikonur Cosmodrome missile silo in Kazakhstan, Russia.
According to the National Association for Amateur Radio, each satellite carried amateur radio transmit-only payloads and all were lost. One private satellite was also lost in the crash.

Also lost was the BelKa "Belorusskit Kosmicheskiy Apparat" satellite. You can follow this cool thread for some neat pictures and further discussion of BelKa.

Despite this news, Dnepr rockets (formerly SS-18 Satan intercontinental ballistic missiles) are better suited for satellite launches (or failures) than the fate intended by their original design...

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