Russia's Proton-M rocket launch fails

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's Proton-M booster rocket has failed and broken apart during a test launch, just months after a shake-up in the country's space agency that was meant to boost its dented image.

The rocket, carrying a communications satellite, was launched early Friday but stopped functioning 160 kilometers (100 miles) above the earth, Roskosmos said in a statement. The agency said it is investigating the cause of the failure and that the rocket totally disintegrated in space, meaning no fragments will fall to earth.

Friday's incident is the second mishap with the Proton-M rocket, which previously burst into flames and crashed after launch. In October, Russia replaced the Roskosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin, who had failed to deliver on promises to improve manufacturing standards and quality checks, with Deputy Defense Minister Oleg Ostapenko.

Related Headlines

  • Rebel leader gives bizarre account of plane crash

    A top pro-Russia rebel commander in eastern Ukraine has given a bizarre version of events surrounding the Malaysian jetliner crash — suggesting many of the victims may have ... 

  • Dmitry Medvedev, Dmitry Rogozin, Sergei Shoigu

    Launch of new Russian space rocket aborted

    The first launch of Russia's new space rocket after two decades of development was aborted Friday moments before its blastoff, as President Vladimir Putin was watching via ... 

  • Andrey Kartopolov, Igor Makushev,

    Vital evidence feared withheld by Ukraine's rebels

    "What exactly are they trying to hide?" President Barack Obama asked Monday as he demanded that Ukrainian rebels give investigators access to the wreckage of the downed ... 

  • 2 killed in Czech small plane crash

    An ultralight plane crashed in southern Czech Republic early Thursday, killing both men on board, officials said. The two-seat Dynamic plane went down near the village of ...