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Russian rocket crash destroys three GLONASS satellites

by GPS4US 2013-07-05 17:06
Earlier this week, a Russian Proton-M rocket carrying three GLONASS navigation satellites crashed shortly after lifting off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome.

The website Russia Today (rt.com) reported that, just 17 seconds after takeoff, the rocket veered to one side and tried to correct itself. Instead, it swerved in the opposite direction and flew horizontally before beginning to come apart with its engines in full thrust.

The rocket plummeted back to earth and exploded on impact about 2.5 kilometers from the launch site.

RT.com reports that the launch was broadcast across Russia and, because the rocket was carrying 600 tons of toxic propellants, some feared a toxic fuel leak. However, rt.com says no leak has been confirmed. The incident resulted in no casualties or massive damage.

GLONASS satellite technology, developed by the Russian military, is up to 20 percent faster than GPS and is features in some GPS units.

The crash cost Russia $200 million. Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev created a special commission to investigate the cause of the crash, the Christian Science Monitor reported. Medvedev also directed his government to prepare tougher oversight measures over the space industry, the Christian Science Monitor said.

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