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Unmanned Russian rocket explodes seconds after liftoff

From Lonzo Cook, CNN
updated 6:35 AM EDT, Tue July 2, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • There are no immediate reports of casualties
  • The rocket was carrying three satellites
  • The launch was broadcast live on television

(CNN) -- An unmanned Russian rocket veered off course and exploded in a fireball Tuesday, seconds after liftoff from a launch pad in Kazakhstan.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Proton-M rocket was carrying three satellites for Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System, or Glonass, reported the RIA Novosti news agency.

Glonass is the Russian equivalent to the United States' Global Positioning System, or GPS.

The rocket had just taken off from the Baikonur space center, in a launch broadcast live on television.

Seconds later, it changed course, burst into flames and dove nose-first into the ground.

In 2010, another Proton-M rocket carrying three satellites crashed in the Pacific Ocean.

Authorities have suspended further launches of the rockets as they investigate what caused the explosion.

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