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Russian rocket explodes on liftoff from Kazakhstan desert

There were no immediate reports of casualties when a Russian Proton-M heavy lift rocket exploded on liftoff earlier today.

A Russian Proton-M heavy lift rocket exploded on liftoff at 2:38 UTC today (July 2, 2013). The rocket was carrying three satellites for Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System, or Glonass (equivalent to the Global Positioning System, or GPS, in the U.S.). It exploded shortly after launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the deserts of Kazakhstan. The video below shows the explosion, captured on live Russian news feed.

Here is a partial and unofficial translation of what the Russian announcer is saying in this video, from Chris Bergin earlier today on NASASpaceflight.com. Bergin wrote in a comment:

Translation may have some mistakes due to translating from Russian to Estonian to English

0:40 something has gone wrong
0:45 something is wrong
0:47 it seems like this is a disaster
0:50 rocket is heading towards the Earth and explodes in air
0:56 explosion …
1:01 And on air we have just seen a failed launch of proton-m rocket with the 3 glonass statellites
1:13 black smoke is now rising into the sky

Bottom line: A Russian Proton-M rocket exploded on liftoff earlier today (July 2, 2013). There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Deborah Byrd


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