A Russian Zenit-3SL rocket just failed in a spectacular fashion during an attempted launch this morning. Around 20 seconds after take off from a Sea Launch platform the rocket is said to have suffered a catastrophic failure, possibly triggered by an incorrect trajectory and an engine cut-off. The rocket then plummeted into the Pacific Ocean, taking with it its payload of a U.S. Intelsat 27 telecoms satellite.
The Sea Launch platform Odyssey has made 33 launches, with two being notable failures. The satellite lost in today’s disaster was designed for telecoms coverage over North America, the Atlantic and Europe. Russian rocket failures have been in the news for a while, with a famous failed attempt in August 2012. Meanwhile efforts among private ventures in the U.S. are lauded for their successful flights, and North and South Korea and Iran are also in the news.