A rocket launched by Russia to put 12 U.S. commercial satellites into orbit failed minutes after blastoff Thursday and burned up in the atmosphere along with its cargo, officials said.
The Ukrainian-made Zenit-2 booster was launched shortly after midnight by Russia's space agency from the Baikonur cosmodrome, which Moscow rents from the former Soviet republic of Kazakstan.The rocket's control system failed within five minutes, shutting down the engines.
Fragments of the rocket and the Globalstar satellites fell in a deserted area in southern Siberia, the Russian Space Agency said in a statement carried by the ITAR-Tass news agency.
The satellites were built and operated by Space Systems/Loral, a subsidiary of Loral Space and Communications Ltd. of New York.
An investigation has been launched into the failure.
The contract's value wasn't announced, but a usual price for such launches is about $30 million, the report said.