Dramatic Launch Failure as Proton Plunges to Earth

A Proton-M rocket carrying three GLONASS-M satellites plunged to the ground less than a minute after launch. The rocket was seen to sway and spin before losing its nose, shearing off a side, and exploding in flames. There is not yet word on what may have caused the incident. No casualties have been reported; the personnel in the control room who were closest to the launch site appear to be accounted for.

Anatoly Zak of RussianSpaceWeb reports that the rocket was using a Block DM-03 upper stage that had been tested in only one prior test: the December 2010 GLONASS launch that failed due to overfueling of the upper stage.

Watch the disaster unfold in the video below and stay tuned for updates.

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Merryl Azriel

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.