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Russian rocket burns up shortly after blastoff

English.news.cn   2014-05-16 18:56:50

MOSCOW, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Russia said Friday a Proton-M rocket carrying an Express-AM4R communication satellite had burned up in the atmosphere above China, with no debris reaching the Earth.

"The third stage (of the rocket) disintegrated at an altitude of 160 km at a velocity of 7 km per second," the Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, said in a press release.

The rocket had an engine problem at the 540th second after launch at 01:42 local time (2142 GMT Thursday) at Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, it said.

Roscosmos said all components of the rocket, the Briz-M booster and the satellite, as well as fuel, burned up during re-entry to the atmosphere.

"Preliminary information shows no debris reached the Earth," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted Roscosmos head Oleg Ostapenko as saying.

He declined to name the reasons for the crash, but said the Briz-M/Express bundle did not separate from the third stage of the rocket.

Ostapenko said Roscosmos planned to launch two more Protons in 2014.

On July 2, 2013, a Proton-M rocket with three Glonass-M navigation satellites aboard exploded less than one minute after lift-off at Baikonur.

Editor: Xiang Bo
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