Russian Proton rocket carrying advanced satellite crashes
Published time: May 15, 2014 22:22
A Russian Proton-M rocket with an advanced satellite on board crashed outside of Kazakhstan’s territory on Friday, about nine minutes after lift-off. The Express-AM4R would have been Russia’s most advanced and powerful satellite.
There are so far no reports of damage or casualties resulting from the Proton-M’s failure to deliver the satellite into orbit.
The rocket could have crashed over the Altai Mountains or the Pacific Ocean, a source told RIA Novosti.
All other launches of Proton-type rockets will be halted at Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan until the reason for the crash is determined, a source told RIA Novosti.
There was an emergency engines shutdown on the 540th second following the launch, the Russian Federal Space Agency said, as quoted by Itar-Tass.
The third stage had another 40 seconds to go before the planned separation from the satellite when the engines failed, RIA Novosti quoted a source as saying.
All of the fuel left over from the launch was likely burnt in the atmosphere, Interfax reported, citing a source.
A special commission from the Russian Federal Space Agency will be in charge of investigating the reasons behind the crash.
The Proton-M rocket, carrying an advanced Express-AM4R satellite, was launched on schedule from Baikonur on Friday. The Express-AM4R would have been Russia’s most advanced and powerful satellite.
The spacecraft weighed 5.8 metric tons and had 63 transponders providing X-band, C-band, S-band, L-band, Ku-band, and Ka-band capacity along with 10 antennas installed.
The satellite was to provide internet access in Russia’s remote regions at affordable prices. This was Russia’s third launch of Express series satellites this year. In March, Express-AT1 and Express-AT satellites were put into orbit.
In 2013, Russia carried out 32 of the 82 space launches completed worldwide, only one of which failed, Interfax reported.