Tuesday, July 2, 2013

VIDEO: Russian Rocket Crashes Seconds After Takeoff

Russian Proton-M Rocket Crash
Russian Proton-M Rocket Crash, 2 July 2013
July 2, 2013 - "An unmanned Russian space rocket has crashed to earth just seconds after launch," reports Russia Today (RT). The rocket launched at 6.38 am (0238 GMT) and "was carrying three satellites meant for Russia's Glonass global navigation system."

Russian Rocket Crash Videos: In the first video below, RT gives a report in English. The second video below is in Russian but shows the entire launch-to-crash more fully. The third video shows another viewpoint as a busload of photographers scramble when they realize that they might be in danger from the falling rocket.

The launch took place at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhastan. The rocket had more than 600 tons of highly toxic fuel. The crash happened only 10 to 15 seconds after liftoff. "It was the second unsuccessful launch of a Proton-M carrier rocket with the DM-03 booster in the past three years," says The Moscow Times. A report this morning at RT's website says that "Immediately after takeoff, the rocket swerved to one side, tried to correct itself, but instead veered in the opposite direction. It then flew horizontally and started to come apart with its engines in full thrust. Making a huge arch in the air, the rocket plummeted back to earth and exploded on impact close to another launch pad used for Proton commercial launches.

There are "fears of a possible toxic fuel leak" just now, but RT reports that "no such leak has been confirmed." No casualties or damage to the nearby town of Baikonur were reported. However, an AFP report at Hurriyet Daily News says that "A Roskosmos spokesman could not immediately say whether people living near the crash site were being evacuated."  Story continues below videos:

"Russia lost three Glonass satellites in December 2010 when a Proton-M veered off course and crashed in the Pacific Ocean," reports The Moscow Times today. "The rocket was also equipped with a DM-3 booster, designed and manufactured by the Energia space corporation. A state investigation commission later concluded that Energia experts miscalculated how much fuel was needed for the DM-3 rocket booster. As a result, the amount of oxidant exceeded the norm by 1-1.5 tons and excessive weight prevented the Proton-M rocket from putting the satellites into their calculated orbit."