Another Russian spaceship crashed in Siberia while on its way transporting a Mexican satellite to its orbit. This time involving a Proton-rocket. It did not make it to the orbit on Saturday. It marks a series of accidents hounding Russia’s space program right now.
It was on the third stage of the rocket separation while carrying the MexSat-1 communications satellite, when the accident happened. It was still within 500 seconds after the takeoff from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan when the problem occurred, Russian media quoted a Russian space officials as saying.
The accident happened while the satellite was still in the process of being installed on its orbit. Investigation is still going on. One space official was quoted by the RIA that launches of all Proton carrier class rockets should be suspended right away.
The final stage of the Proton-M carrier still contained a few tons of heptyl, which is a very toxic propellant after it was examined in Siberia’s Cheita region where it crashed.
The Proton rocket is considered as Russia’s space workhorse, known before with its UR-500 code. It made its initial test flights in the middle of the 60’s. It was intended to carry Intercontinental ballistic missiles to transport nuclear warheads to target USSR’s cold war enemies which include the United States.
Russia pioneered space exploration, when it launched its first space satellite and transported the first man in space. Several accidents however have brought a lot of bad reputation to its space program. The latest cause of accident involving its Proton rocket is still not known as of this very minute.