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Launch of Russia's Angara rocket scratched at last minute

Experts have suggested Russia's failures are a product of the last decade.
By Brooks Hays   |   June 27, 2014 at 1:45 PM   |   Comments

MOSCOW, June 27 (UPI) -- For reasons still unknown, the liftoff of Russia's Angara rocket -- the first new rocket designed and built since the fall of the Soviet Union -- was scratched at the very last second Friday.

Just moments before liftoff, the rocket's computers automatically aborted the launch, apparently having detected some sort of problem. Russia's Lieutenant General Alexander Golovko told Interfax the launch has been rescheduled for Saturday.

Tensions were apparently running high at the Kremlin in the wake of the botched launch. According to the Moscow Times, President Vladimir Putin told Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu -- after watching the launch abandoned on a live stream in a Kremlin conference room -- that he had just one hour to sort out the problem and report back.

It's the latest a long series of failures over the last decade. Just last month Russia's Proton-M booster ended in failure. The summer before, the same rocket crashed and burned. Three navigation satellites, worth $200 million, were destroyed in the accident.

Russian officials have since deflected the embarrassment by suggesting the mishap was the result of international sabotage. Russia's Ministry of Interior launched a criminal case, levying the charge of "Intentional destruction or waste of property which caused human death through negligence or other grave consequences."

Experts have suggested Russia's failures are a product of diminished funding and brain drain of the last decade, not outside manipulation.

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