14:24 GMT +316 February 2019
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    Causes of Bulava missile test failure still unknown - space agency

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    MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti) - Investigations into the failure of a test launch of the newest Russian ballistic missile a month ago have yet not been able to establish the causes of the incident, a Russian Space Agency official said Tuesday.

    A Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile launched October 25 from the Dmitry Donskoi nuclear submarine in the White Sea self-destructed after it deviated from its trajectory.

    "The causes of the failure are still unknown," said Vitaly Davydov, deputy head of the space agency.

    A Navy spokesman said at the time that the missile lifted off successfully from a submerged position, but strayed from its trajectory several minutes into the flight.

    "It could have triggered a self-destruct system," he said, adding that a special commission would conduct a detailed investigation into the incident.

    A similar test conducted September 7 also failed when a testing program error in the second stage of the flight caused the missile to miss its designated target.

    The R-30 Bulava (SS-NX-30) ballistic missile, a naval version of the Topol-M ballistic missile, was developed at the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology. It can carry up to ten nuclear warheads and has a range of 8,000 kilometers (about 5,000 miles).

    The first in-flight test launch was conducted September 27, 2005 also from the Dmitry Donskoi, a Typhoon-class ballistic missile submarine.

    On December 21, 2005, another Bulava was launched from the Dmitry Donskoi in the White Sea before traveling thousand miles to hit a dummy target at the Kura test site, on the Kamchatka Peninsula. It was the first time a Bulava had been launched from a submerged position.

    Russia's Borey-class nuclear submarines could be equipped with Bulava missiles as early as 2008, the missile's chief designer said in April.