A video of the launch and crash of the Russian Proton rocket shows an unidentified object appear to hit and disable the craft.
A Russian Proton-M rocket with an advanced satellite on board crashed outside of Kazakhstan’s territory on Friday, about nine minutes after lift-off. The Express-AM4R would have been Russia’s most advanced and powerful satellite.
There are so far no reports of damage or casualties resulting from the Proton-M’s failure to deliver the satellite into orbit.
The rocket could have crashed over the Altai Mountains or the Pacific Ocean, a source told RIA Novosti.
All other launches of Proton-type rockets will be halted at Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan until the reason for the crash is determined, a source told RIA Novosti.
There was an emergency engines shutdown on the 540th second following the launch, the Russian Federal Space Agency said, as quoted by Itar-Tass.
The third stage had another 40 seconds to go before the planned separation from the satellite when the engines failed, RIA Novosti quoted a source as saying. All of the fuel left over from the launch was likely burnt in the atmosphere, Interfax reported, citing a source.
In the video at second 47 a white dot can be seen coming from the right side of the screen and flying towards the rocket and appearing to hit it at second 50 or 51. Then the rocket seems to start smoking and become disabled.