Launch of Russian rocket carrying satellite fails

September 6, 2007 15:39

An unmanned Russian rocket carrying a Japanese communications satellite malfunctioned after liftoff Thursday, sending parts crashing to Earth in Kazakhstan and triggering concerns about environmental damage. Nobody was hurt, but the accident was also a potential blow to Russia's program for commercial satellite launches. The Proton-M rocket failed to put the JCSAT-11 satellite into orbit because of a problem during operation of the second stage, the U.S.-based American-Russian joint venture International Launch Services said. The rocket failed 139 seconds after its launch from the Russian-rented Baikonur facility in Kazakhstan, and its second and third stages veered from the planned trajectory at an altitude of 74 kilometers, said Alexander Vorobyov, a spokesman for the Russian space agency Roskosmos.

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