Russian Proton Rocket Carrying Advanced Satellite Crashes Soon after Launch [Representational Image]
Russian Proton Rocket Carrying Advanced Satellite Crashes Soon after Launch [Representational Image]Reuters

A Russian rocket crashed on late Thursday evening, 15 May 2014 (EDT) or Friday 16 May 2014 (IST), while attempting to launch an advanced communications satellite into the orbit.

Proton-M rocket with advanced satellite on board crashed nine minutes after it lift-off outside Kazakhstan, reported Russia Today.  The satellite, Express-AM4R would have been the most powerful and advanced satellites of Russia providing affordable internet access to Russian residents living in remote areas.

So far no casualties or damage has been reported from the crash, according to the news report and experts believe that the rocket could have crashed over the Pacific Ocean or Altai Mountains.

Future launches of the Proton-type rockets from Baikonur will be halted until investigators determine the reason for the crash.

"Contact with the carrier rocket was lost in the 540th second after liftoff. It is known that the nose cone did not separate from the rocket." said an official with Russia's federal space agency, according to Itar-Tass News Agency.

It is likely that all of the fuel left over was burnt up in the atmosphere along with the rocket and the satellite on board.

Russian Federal Space Agency's special commission has been in charge of the investigation behind the crash.

"None have been reported up until this point. It is a vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean or the Russian Far East where this debris has likely fallen. And that area is very sparsely populated, so it is highly unlikely that someone was hurt or killed by this," Stephen Clark told Russia Today.

The Proton-M rocket, carrying an advanced Express-AM4R satellite, was launched on schedule from Baikonur on Friday.

The spacecraft carrying the satellite weighed 5.8 metric tons and had 63 transponders along with 10 antennas installed.

This was the third Express series satellite launch of Russia this year. In March, Express-AT1 and Express-AT satellites were placed into orbit.

In 2013, 32 of the 82 space launches were successfully carried out by Russia, only one of which failed.

Check out for the Proton-M Rocket crash video here

Quick Links