Friday, July 28, 2006

Russian Rocket Crash

Photo from

Russian Rocket With 18 Satellites Crashes After Launch


A Russian rocket carrying 18 satellites crashed shortly after blasting off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan late Wednesday, the Federal Space Agency said early Thursday. According to the Xinhua news agency the Dnepr carrier rocket with the satellites, which belonged respectively to Russia, Belarus, Italy and the United States, crashed 25 km south of the Baikonur launch pad, a piece of land on the northern Kazakh steppe that Russia leases to launch its spacecraft, Yury Nosenko, deputy head of the Federal Space Agency, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. No damage or injuries were caused on the ground, he said. “An emergency shutdown of the engines occurred 86 seconds into the flight,” a spokesman of the Mission Control outside Moscow said. Nosenko said the first stage of the rocket failed to separate on time and “that is why the engine was shut down in the emergency mode.” The crash dealt yet another blow to Russia’s space program, which has suffered a series of mishaps since last year. Interfax also reported that Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko traveled to Baikonur to witness the launch of his country’s first satellite, the Belka, which was onboard the Dnepr rocket.

His reaction to the crash was not reported.

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