The rocket, called Proton-M, was carrying three navigation satellites into space — and it was fortunately unmanned. According to the Interfax news agency, it fell 1km from its launchpad less than a minute after taking off.
There are currently no reported ground injuries so far — but the news agency reports that the crash site could have been infected with poisonous heptyl and amyl from the fuel:
“The rocket fell during the first minute of its flight when its tanks contained about 500 tons of fuel. A lot of decontamination work may have to be done at the crash site.”
It’s not the first time a Proton-M rocket has shown weaknesses: one crashed after launching from Baikonur in 2007, and a booster fell from one into the Pacific Ocean in 2010. This incident doesn’t do a lot for its track record. [Interfax via BBC via The Verge]