Tsiklon 3
Launch vehicle Tsiklon 3
Launch site Plesetsk, Russia
Date/Time 2000-12-27
Description Third stage partial failure
Cause Control system error
Payload 3 x Strela [Kosmos] (Communications satellites, Russian military)
3 x Gonets D1 (Communications satellites, Russian Aerospace Agency)
Desired orbit Low Earth orbit (1,420 km x 82 degrees)

The third stage's engines shut down 367 seconds into flight, probably caused by the failure of its control system, according to the Russian Aviation and Space Agency.

The cause for the malfunction is unclear, however. A Ukrainian-Russian investigation commission came to the conclusion that it was either the manufacturer's fault, or that the rocket had been stored for too long.

The satellites, three military Strela spacecraft and three Gonets D1 satellites provided by the Russian Aerospace Agency, burnt up in the Earth's atmosphere. Some rocket debris reportedly fell into the ocean off the Far Eastern Chukotka Peninsula. The debris caused no damage, officials were quoted as saying.

Other reports, however, quoted "experts of Russia's Strategic Missile Forces" as saying the satellites separated from the rocket and were orbiting Earth at a lower-than-expected altitude and thus couldn't be detected.

Launch Failures Chronology