Russian booster rocket crashes

A Russian booster rocket carrying three satellites has crashed at a cosmodrome in Kazakhstan shortly after its launch.

The Russian Space Agency said in a statement that the Proton-M booster unexpectedly shut down the engine 17 seconds into the flight and crashed more than a mile (2km) away from the Baikonur launch pad.

Russian officials said there were no casualties or damage immediately reported.

Meanwhile, the Interfax news agency quoted Kazakh Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Bozhkov as saying that the burning rocket fuel had blanketed the launch pad with a toxic cloud.

But he said authorities have yet to determine its potential danger to the environment.

Another Proton-M booster crashed in Baikonur in August 2012 when it failed to place two satellites into orbits.

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