Russia lost a 2.6bn-rouble (£33m) weather satellite due to a programming error, the country’s deputy prime minister has confirmed.
Meteor-M was launched on 28 November, but the Russian space agency Roscosmos quickly announced that it failed to establish communications with the craft.
Roscosmos later stated that the satellite failed to enter into its designated orbit following the launch.
Russia’s deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin told the Rossiya 24 state television channel that the rocket carrying the satellite had been programmed with the wrong coordinates.
Instead of being programmed to take off from the Vostochny spaceport, where the rocket was launched from, it had been given bearings to launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
“The rocket was really programmed as if it was taking off from Baikonur,” said Mr Rogozin. “They didn’t get the coordinates right.”
In an official statement from the Russian emergency commission established to investigate the launch, Roscosmos blamed the “imperfection of the software algorithms of the control system” in the Soyuz launch vehicle.
Roscosmos said its officials and the main companies involved in the launch had failed to take comprehensive measures to ensure that it was successful.
It added that unspecified instructions for reprimands had been issued to seven executives involved in the failed launch.