Russia: Soyuz Rocket Explodes

An unmanned Soyuz-U rocket exploded on Wednesday shortly after take-off. It was carrying a satellite system into space. There are reports of one dead and eight injured at the Plesetsk Space Centre.

The Soyuz-U rocket exploded 29 seconds after take-off from the Plesetsk Space Centre, 1,200 km. north of Moscow. The victims were soldiers who were watching the take-off.

The satellite system was supposed to orbit the Earth for 15 days, conducting scientific experiments for the European Space Agency and other international organisms. The causes of the accident are not yet known, although some experts state that it could be due to engine failure.

1,500 rockets have been successfully launched from Plesetsk and the Soyuz-U has an excellent safety record, never having been involved in accidents before in its 11 years of service.


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