This week’s failed Russian rocket had a pretty bad programming error

Enlarge / A Soyuz 2.1b rocket booster carrying the Meteor M2-1 meteorological satellite and 18 small satellites launched from the Vostochny Cosmodrome on Tuesday. (credit: Yuri SmityukTASS via Getty Images)

On Tuesday morning, a Russian rocket failed to properly deploy the 19 satellites it was carrying into orbit. Instead of boosting its payload, the Soyuz 2.1b rocket's Fregat upper stage fired in the wrong direction, sending the statellites on a suborbital trajectory instead, burning...

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