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One killed in Soyuz launch failure
Posted: Wed, Oct 16, 2002, 10:42 AM ET (1442 GMT)
Soyuz launch of Foton-M The explosion of a Soyuz rocket Tuesday night from Plesetsk has killed one person and injured eight more, Russian officials confirmed Wednesday. The Soyuz-U rocket exploded 29 seconds after liftoff, and debris from the rocket rained down on the launch pad, partially destroying it. One solider of the Russian Space Forces was killed at the pad and eight others were injured. The cause of the explosion is still unknown, and officials have not speculated about what could have destroyed the Soyuz, a very reliable launch vehicle. The Soyuz-U is slightly different from the Soyuz used to launch the manned spacecraft of the same name, so it is not certain what affect, if any, this launch failure could have on the October 27 launch of the Soyuz TMA-1 taxi mission to the International Space Station. An unidentified Russian official told Reuters that "serious conclusions will have to be made" about the launch, although Rosaviakosmos has made no decision yet to delay it.
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