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Russia's carrier rocket explodes on takeoff at Kazakhstan cosmodrome

Published on Jul 2, 2013 1:54 PM

MOSCOW (AFP) - An unmanned Russian Proton-M carrier rocket exploded on Tuesday on takeoff at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, in images broadcast live on national television.

Spectacular footage showed the rocket veering off its trajectory just seconds after its 6.38am (0238 GMT) launch, before erupting into a ball of flames and releasing highly toxic rocket fuel into the air.

The Russian space agency Roskosmos, citing preliminary information, said the accident caused no damage or casualties.

"Something is wrong. It seems it will be a catastrophe," said a television commentator during the live coverage of the launch, his voice trembling.

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