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Russia Launches Proton-M Rocket Three Months After Crash


Russia has successfully launched a Proton-M rocket with a European communications satellite onboard from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

The launch had originally been scheduled for July 21 but was postponed after another Proton-M carrying three satellites worth some $200 million exploded on takeoff on July 2.

The accident created a toxic cloud from burning rocket fuel, angering Kazakh authorities who say such failures damage the environment and pose a health threat to people.

The Proton-M rocket is Russia's most popular for commercial satellite launches but has been plagued by problems.

A Proton-M booster also crashed in Baikonur in August 2012 when it failed to place two satellites into orbit.

A group of activists in Kazakhstan announced on September 30 that they planned to hold a rally in front of the Russian Consulate in Almaty to protest the resumption of launches.

Based on reporting by Interfax, AFP, ITAR-TASS, and RFE/RL's Kazakh Service
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