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Russian rocket falls back to Earth after liftoff

Published on May 16, 2014 4:03 PM
A picture taken on May 13, 2014, shows Russian Proton M rocket with the Express-AM4P communication satellite, which crashed today, rising at a launch pad in the Russian leased Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome. -- PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - A Russian Proton rocket carrying an advanced communication satellite fell back to Earth on Friday shortly after liftoff in the latest accident to hit the country's once-proud space industry.

Russian space officials said the rocket's control engine failed 545 seconds after it took off from the Baikonur space centre that Moscow leases in Kazakhstan.

State television showed the Proton and its Express-AM4P satellite reported to be worth US$29 million (S$36 million) burning up in the upper layers of the atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean.

"We have an emergency situation," Channel One television showed a Russian flight commentator as saying.

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