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Video of Russian Rocket Exploding In Kazakhstan Sends Shock Waves Around Globe

A newly "rolled out" Proton-M, carry...

A newly “rolled out” Proton-M, carrying the Inmarsat-4F3 spacecraft, is readied for “verticalization” at Pad 39. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A high-profile failure of a Russian rocket in Kazakhstan today increased concerns about the viability of the Russian space program as a commercial tool not to mention that the malfunction cost more $200 million. A Russian space agency official was quoted by the RIA-Novosti news agency as saying work at Baikonur is likely to be suspended for two to three months to clean up the fuel dumped across a wide swath around the crash site.

Tuesday’s rocket failure was “another setback for Moscow’s space program,” RIA-Novosti stated, recalling a 2010 Proton-M rocket crash that destroyed three other satellites intended for the Russian GLONASS system, a global positioning network like the GPS that guides American drivers, hikers, golfers and fliers.

Another Proton-M failed in August 2011, an incident blamed on a control system malfunction, and complications with the Briz engine on the rocket scrapped a Proton mission last summer. In December, a booster failed to lift the Proton to its planned satellite deployment position, necessitating a second mission to put the satellite into the correct orbit, the Russian space agency Roskosmos reported at the time.

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