After unusual lights were spotted in Norway Thursday, Russia admitted Thursday another failed test of the Bulava intercontinental missile.
The submarine-based Bulava (Mace) missile has been billed as Russia's newest technological breakthrough to support its nuclear deterrent, but the repeated test failures are an embarrassment for the Kremlin.
The missile failed in its 13th test on Wednesday morning, Russia's leading economic dailies Vedomosti and Kommersant reported on Thursday, quoting sources in the military-industrial complex.
Hours later, the Defense Ministry admitted the failure, saying the launch had been made by the Dmitry Donskoi nuclear submarine from a submerged position in the White Sea.
"It has been established ... that the missile's first two stages worked as normal, but there was a technical malfunction at the next, third, stage of the trajectory," a Defense Ministry spokesman said, The New York Times reports.
It was also reported, the phenomenon was seen by people all over northern Norway.
"This cloud was very spectacular, and when we looked at the videos people submitted to the media, we quickly concluded that it looked like a rocket or missile out of control, thus the spiraling effect," Paal Brekke, a senior advisor at the Norwegian Space Centre Drammensvn, told SPACE.com. "I think this is the first time we have seen such a display from a launch failure."
"It was a fairly stunning display, and we were really surprised to see it so well observed," Brekke said.
Viewers described an eerie white cloud with a piercing blue-green beam coming out of it.
"It consisted initially of a green beam of light similar in color to the aurora with a mysterious rotating spiral at one end," Nick Banbury of Harstad, Norway told Spaceweather.com. "This spiral then got bigger and bigger until it turned into a huge halo in the sky with the green beam extending down to Earth," LiveScience.com reports.
News agencies also report, Russia's defense ministry said it did not know whether the lights were caused by its Bulava missile, which can be equipped with up to 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads and has a maximum range of 5,000 miles.
But defense analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said the images seen over Norway were consistent with a missile failure.
"Such lights and clouds appear from time to time when a missile fails in the upper layers of the atmosphere and have been reported before," he said. "At least this failed test made some nice fireworks for the Norwegians," FOXNews reports.
The troops of the Southern and Western military districts will begin to return from Russia's southern borders to the points of their permanent deployment starting April 23