TS News - Zenit-2 Crashes

TELE-satellit News, 21 May 1997

Zenit-2 Crashes
  LUBECK, Germany, 97/05/21 (SatND) -- A Zenit-2 rocket carrying a Russian
KOSMOS military satellite today crashed just 48 seconds after lift-off from
the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. A spokesman for the Russian Military
Space Forces said the crash occurred after the engines in the first stage
of the Ukrainian-made rocket switched off for reasons yet unknown.

  At that point, the launcher had reached an altitude of 15 km. Following
the shut-down of its engines, it crashed some 28 km from the launch site,
causing an explosion and a fire. Meanwhile, a rescue team was brought to
the crash site by helicopter. According to Itar-Tass, there were no
casualties. All residents from areas covered by the rocket's flight
trajectory had been evacuated. There's no word yet on any material damage.

  Today's Zenit-2 launch attempt was the 28th. Just 21 of the rockets,
developed by the Yuzhnoye design office in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, blasted
off normally. Obviously the rocket's success rate is just 75 percent which
is remarkably low. Interestingly, an upgraded three-stage version of
Zenit-2 will be used to launch commercial satellites from the Pacific Ocean
under the international Sea Launch project involving the United States,
Norway, Ukraine and Russia.

  By: Peter Klanowski]
(c)TELE-satellit 1997. All rights reserved.

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