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Russia says it has lost contact with Meteor satellite

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The Soyuz-2.1b rocket launching with the Meteor-M 2-1 and 18 other satellites on board.
AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky

Russia says it has lost contact with the Meteor-M weather satellite launched early this morning from its new Vostochny spaceport.

"The first scheduled communication session has failed to establish contact with the satellite due to its absence from the designated orbit," said a spokesman for Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency. "Analysis of the current situation is underway."

The 6,062-pound Meteor-M 2-1 satellite was meant to have begun a five-year mission to collect imagery and data for Roshydromet, the Russian weather agency. It's the first Russian weather satellite capable of receiving emergency distress beacons through the international Cospas-Sarsat network, according to SpaceFlight Now.

The Meteor-M 2-1 launched aboard a Soyuz-2.1b rocket at 8.41AM Moscow Time. It’s just the second spacecraft to lift off from Russia's newest spaceport. The rocket carried a total of 19 satellites from a variety of countries, including the US, though the Meteor-M was the main payload.