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Second Activist Detained While Protesting Rocket Launches In Kazakhstan

Kazakh authorities and environmentalists were angered after a Russian Proton-M rocket left a toxic cloud after exploding folllwing blastoff from the Baikonur space complex in July. (file photo)
ASTANA -- Police in the Kazakh capital, Astana, have detained a second activist for protesting against the launch of Russian Proton space rockets from Kazakh soil.

Askhat Rakhymzhanov staged his protest action in front of the Kazakh Space Agency on January 14, a day after another activist, Maqsat Iliasuly, was fined $240 for a similar protest.

In July, a Russian Proton-M rocket carrying three satellites worth some $200 million exploded shortly after takeoff from the Baikonur space complex in central Kazakhstan.

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

In November, Astana officially requested $89.5 million in financial compensation from Russia for the rocket crash.

Proton rocket launches from Baikonur resumed in September.

Ecology activists have protested against the resumption of the launches.
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