(MOSCOW) — Russia saw its commercial space industry suffer another setback on Tuesday after a Proton-M rocket blew up seconds after launch in Kazakhstan, destroying three satellites worth $200 million in the process.
The massive clean-up from the failure was made even worse because an estimated 600 tons of toxic fuel was spewed across the launch pad, which puts Russia in a bad light with Kazakhstan, a former Soviet sister republic.
Lately, the Proton-M rockets — developed during the Soviet era — have been nothing but trouble.
Tuesday’s incident was reminiscent of the 2010 Proton-M rocket crash that destroyed three satellites, which were intended for the Russian version of the U.S. global positioning network. There were also at least two Proton-M failures in 2011.
All told, there have been five Proton-M mishaps since December 2010, and the latest one will push back the launch of two spacecrafts that were scheduled for later this month.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Michael Pearson, Faith Karimi and Ian Lee, CNN
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com