MOSCOW, June 21 (RIA Novosti) - The crash of the Molniya-M launch vehicle Tuesday was caused by the third-stage engine failure or an unfulfilled order to separate the second and third stages, said Anatoly Perminov, the head of the Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos).
The accident prevented Russia's satellite designed for defense purposes from being launched into orbit. The accident occurred 298 seconds after the launch, said Perminov.
He said the launch vehicle was made last year.
Experts have arrived at the site of the crash, but it is clear that the launch vehicle fell in the area designed for rockets with burnt-out stages.
There is no threat for the environment, as launch vehicles of this type operate on kerosene and liquid oxygen, which are environmentally friendly, Perminov said.
He said that an emergency interagency commission was being organized to include representatives from the Space Corps, responsible for the launch, and Roskosmos.