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MOSCOW, July 2 (Itar-Tass) - The Investigative Committee launched a pre-investigation check into the crash of a Proton-M booster rocket off the Baikonur cosmodrome.
"The check is being conducted by the SK office at Baikonur. The procedural decision /on whether or not to open a criminal case/ will depend on its results," the SK said.
A Proton-M booster carrying three Glonass-M satellites blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome at 06:38, Moscow time on Tuesday. Immediately after the launch, it deviated from the trajectory and began to disintegrate in midair. It fell some 2.5 kilometers from the launch site and exploded. Roskosmos said the accident occurred in the 17th second of the flight because of emergency engine shutdown. An aerospace source said the accident had not been caused by a breakdown of the DM-03 accelerator unit.
A heptyl cloud formed after the explosion. The launch pad and the launch crew were not harmed, and no casualties were reported at the crash site. A commission led by Deputy Roskosmos director Alexander Lopatin is looking into the cause of the accident.
Vice president of the GLONASS federal network operator Yevgeny Belyanko said the loss of three satellites would not affect the operation of the GLONASS system.
Prime Minister Medvedev ordered his deputy Dmitry Rogozin to set up a government commission to find the cause of the accident and demanded a list of the guilty persons, including high-ranking Roskosmos officials, the premier's spokeswoman Natalia Timakova said.
Rogozin has to work out measures to prevent similar accidents in the future.