Video footage has emerged of what's probably the moment Russia’s Meteor-M weather satellite was destroyed after an error meant it failed to reach orbit yesterday.
The footage shows what’s believed to be the Meteor-M satellite as it burned up over Montreal, Canada, yesterday. You can see the stream of debris from the satellite as it’s torn apart on re-entry.
The satellite and the upper stage of the rocket are believed to have then plummeted into the Atlantic Ocean. The footage was apparently taken from a British Airways plane flying from Montreal to London.
Russia’s Meteor-M satellite launched yesterday, November 28, from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in eastern Russian on a Soyuz-2.1b. Several hours after launch, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said it was unable to contact the weather satellite.
The exact cause of the failure has not yet been determined, but the Russian news agency Interfax said a “human error” may have put it in the wrong orientation. The result was that the Fregat-M upper stage of the rocket fired it back into the atmosphere, rather than into orbit.
Meteor-M was the latest in the Meteor series of weather satellites and was designed to study the climate from polar orbit for five years. This would have included monitoring the cloud and ice cover on Earth and measuring the temperature and humidity of our atmosphere.