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Russian military launch fails
Posted: Tue, Jun 21, 2005, 8:14 AM ET (1214 GMT)
Molniya launch vehicle illustration (Energia) A Russian rocket carrying a military communications satellite failed shortly after launch early Tuesday, crashing in Siberia. The Molniya-M rocket lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia at 8:49 pm EDT Monday (0049 GMT Tuesday) carrying a Molniya-3K communications satellite. About six minutes after liftoff, however, the rocket's third stage engine failed. Russian officials said they weren't sure initially if the problem was with the third stage engine itself or if the stage failed to separate from the second stage. The upper stages of the rocket and the satellite then crashed in the Tyumen region of western Siberia. The launch failure is the first this year worldwide, and the first for the Molniya-M booster, a variant of the Soyuz booster, in 15 years.
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