News Column

Russian Proton rocket crashes after liftoff

May 16, 2014

A Russian rocket, carrying a communications satellite into orbit, crashed nine minutes after blasting off from Kazakhstan Friday morning.

The unmanned Proton-M rocket, a 174-foot-tall launch rocket with a troubled history, blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with an Express-AM4R satellite, a spacecraft for providing Internet access to remote areas of Russia and regarded as Russia's most advanced telecommunications satellite.

There were no injuries or reports of debris.

"Contact with the carrier rocket was lost in the 540th second after liftoff. The nose cone did not separate from the rocket," the state news agency Itar-Tass said, quoting a Russian space agency official.

The failure is the sixth in the past 3.5 years for the proton rocket. It is of a type that has been used for Russian space attempts since the 1960s, and failed, most recently, in July while attempting to put three satellites into orbit.

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Source: UPI International Top News

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