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Stable contact established with satellite — Roscosmos head

Contact was re-established, and planned work with the satellite was underway

MOSCOW, July 26 (Itar-Tass) - Stable contact was established with the Photon-M satellite, Roscosmos head Oleg Ostapenko told Itar-Tass on Saturday. Contact with the satellite was lost on July 24.

Contact was re-established, and planned work with the satellite was underway, he added.

When asked about causes of the halt, Ostapenko said there were several versions under consideration. It was early to say something definite. It was being analyzed, he said.

He assured almost the entire scientific programme of the Photon-M satellite would be carried out. "Under any circumstances, we will surely carry out 90 percent of the planned programme."

The first task was to carry out the planned programme, and the second was to ensure that the capsule would land safely, he said.

Contact was re-established with the Russian scientific satellite at 08:05 Moscow time on Saturday, a source at the Progress company, which designed the satellite, told Itar-Tass.

Commands were sent to the Photon to continue its mission. All its systems were working as normal, the source said.

Earlier on Saturday, the press secretary of the medico-biological research institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Oleg Voloshin, told Itar-Tass that contact was re-established with the Photon.

As was reported earlier, its onboard equipment worked as normal and it regularly sent telemetric information. However, control of the satellite from the earth was lost, while it remained in its orbit as planned.

Photon-M No Four was launched on July 19 with five geckos, Drosophila flies, plant seeds and microorganisms on board. It also has 22 sets of scientific equipment developed by leading Russian research organizations.

After the separation from the rocket, all its onboard systems began working. It was switched to orientation to the sun, and some experiments started. However, after its three circuits, contact with the satellite was lost, while its telemetric information was received.

Its bio-capsule is expected to fly for 60 days. During the period, life of the organisms will be supported automatically and a series of experiments will be conducted.

The capsule is planned to land in the Orenburg (southern Ural) region in two months.