Sea Launch rocket explodes on lift-off in Pacific

10:23, 31 January 2007
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A special commission set up to investigate the failed launch

A Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket carrying a commercial communications satellite exploded during lift-off from an oceangoing platform in the Pacific, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday, according to RIA Novosti.

"There was an explosion as we were lifting off. No one involved in the launch was injured," Paula Korn said.

She said a special commission has been set up to investigate the failed launch.

The Boeing-developed NSS-8 satellite was meant for Netherlands-based SES New Skies.

Established in 1995, the Sea Launch consortium is owned by Boeing, Kvaerner ASA of Oslo, Norway, and SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, and RSC-Energia of Moscow.

The company launches its vehicles from the equator, which allows rockets to carry heavier payloads than they could from other locations due to the physics of the Earth`s rotation.

The Zenit-3SL rocket has three stages, all fueled by kerosene and liquid oxygen.

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