Proton-M carrying an advanced satellite breaks apart nine minutes after its takeoff, Russia's space agency says
MOSCOW - An unmanned Russian space rocket carrying an advanced telecommunication satellite broke apart while attempting to launch, Russia's space agency said Friday.
The crash of the Proton-M rocket was likely caused by a failure in its steering engine nine minutes after its takeoff from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the head of the agency, Oleg Ostapenko, said.
"The rocket apparently burned in the atmosphere. It is known that the nose cone did not separate from the rocket," he told ITAR-TASS news agency.
Small fragments of the rocket might fall on the earth, the agency cited an unidentified space official as saying.
The Express-AM4R satellite within the rocket - known as Russia’s most advanced - was designed to provide affordable internet access in Russia's remote regions.
Another Russian Proton-M carrying three satellites crashed upon its launch from Baikonur in 2010.
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