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Russia Launches Probe Into Cause Of Proton-M Rocket Failure

The Proton-M rocket has a history of mishaps. (file photo)

The Proton-M rocket has a history of mishaps. (file photo)

Russian officials have begun investigating the loss of a commercial satellite and a separate glitch on the International Space Station that have sparked safety concerns.

A commission that is investigating the May 16 accident involving a Proton-M rocket, which was carrying a Mexican telecommunications satellite, met on the morning of May 17 to begin its probe.

On May 16, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev demanded answers from Igor Komarov, the head of the Roskosmos space agency.

He also called for the names of those responsible for the accident, suggesting some space officials could be fired.

Last year, Russia dismissed the head of Roscosmos over previous failures.

Roskosmos said the engines of the third stage of the rocket malfunctioned.

Those engines were meant to take the satellite into orbit. Instead, the rocket's third and upper stages, and the satellite, fell back to Earth and disintegrated in the atmosphere.

Based on reporting by AFP and TASS