Russian Proton Rocket Fails Seconds After Launch

Last night a Russian Proton-M rocket carrying three GLONASS-M navigation satellites lost control just seconds after launch and went off course and exploded shortly before hitting the ground a couple kilometers from its launch and near another launch pad.

No one was hurt, and it appears the town of Baikonur, which is 57KM from the launch site, is fine. Because the rocket carried over 500 tonnes of fuel and because the satellites had radiactive isotopes onoard, an eveacatuation of the town was considered. However instead of evacuating the town, everyone was told to stay indoors.

The investigation is already underway. It's too early to tell how this will impact launches to the International Space Station. A Russian Progress 52 unmanned space station cargo resupply spacecraft is scheduled to launch on July 24th and Expedition 37/38 with three astronauts is scheduled to launch September 25th.

The Proton-M, which launched from launch pad 24 at launch complex 81, crashed near launch complex 200 which is some distance, over 20km, from the Soyuz launch pad in area 254 as shown on the map below.

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