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Kazakh Authorities Bar Launches of Dnepr Rockets from Baikonur


Kazakhstan authorities have suspended the launches of Russian Dneper rockets from the Baikonur space center pending investigation of a crash last week.

A rocket, carrying 18 satellites, crashed in an area about 150 kilometers from Baikonur, shortly after lift-off. Russian authorities attribute the crash to an engine problem.

Officials reported no injuries, but have expressed concern that the crash had seriously polluted the area with the poisonous fuel heptyl. Russian authorities say they are taking part in the investigation of the rocket's failure and have pledged to compensate Kazakhstan for damage suffered.

The Dnepr was carrying mostly foreign satellites including what was to have been Belarus' first spacecraft.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.
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