Russian space officials have admitted that a sophisticated satellite designed to detect submerged submarines will explode in the atmosphere within days following a faulty launch.
The Canopus ST failed to part from its booster rocket after the Friday launch from the Plesetsk military cosmodrome in northwestern Russia, changing the planned trajectory, foreign media reports.
The satellite, which took a decade to develop, was equipped with advanced cameras that could scan oceans, identify submarines underwater and detect forest fires that devastate Russia's forests every year.
The imminent loss of Canopus ST marks another disaster for Russia's space industry that still prides itself on the launch of the first satellite and the first manned mission in human history.
Military satellites are especially vulnerable because Russian engineers refrain from using foreign-made components citing security concerns.