At least three people at Russia's northern Plesetsk cosmodrome are in charge of making sure the name "Tanya" is written on every rocket they launch, Itar-Tass news agency said on Wednesday.

It quoted sources at the cosmodrome as saying it was widely believed by workers that a Vostok-2M space rocket exploded on the launchpad 18 years ago, killing 48 people, only because someone forgot to write the lucky name on it."The reasons have never been found. That is why people working at the cosmodrome, as superstitious as cosmonauts, think the main reason was the lack of the traditionally lucky name `Tanya', " Tass said in a report from the cosmodrome, used to launch satellites and other unmanned craft.

"Nobody recalls who was the first to scribble it with a gloved hand on the snow-covered hull of a liquid-oxygen rocket. But all Tanya's launches have been successful."

The name Tatyana, of which Tanya is the more familiar form, is one of the more popular women's names in Russia.

Tass said a serviceman, an officer and launching squad commander were now personally responsible for putting the name Tanya on each rocket before launch.