Tuesday, July 2, 2013
A Russian Proton rocket went out of control and slammed into the steppes of Kazakhstan mere moments after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Monday night.
The government booster was carrying three Russian navigation satellites on the ill-fated mission that launched at 0238 GMT (10:38 p.m. EDT).
Live video showed the Proton gyrating left and then right as it ascended off the pad before going horizontal, barrel rolling and falling into a nose dive. The front end of the rocket sheared away and the main stage erupted in a massive fireball before hitting the ground in a horrific explosion.
The entire flight appeared to last a half-minute.
Russian rockets do not carry self-destruct explosives like Western boosters, which prevented any attempt to destroy the wayward Proton before impact.
A Russian Federal Space Agency statement said an emergency committee being created would be headed by Deputy Head of Roscosmos Alexander Lopatin.
Standing 19-stories tall, the rocket weighed nearly 1.5 million pounds at launch, its first three stages loaded with unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide propellants and the upper stage filled with kerosene and liquid oxygen.
Full article: http://spaceflightno … news/n1307/01proton/