Russian Rocket Explodes Over Kazakhstan

A Russian rocket just crashed seconds after it was launched from a spaceport in Kazakhstan. Footage from local news channels shows how the rocket wobbled through the sky as it rose into the air, before disintegrating and falling back to Earth.

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]