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Putin Demands Explanation After Russian Space Rocket Launch Aborted

Image: The Soyuz TMA-13M rocket is launched from the Cosmodrome Baikonur in Kazakhstan, in the early hours of May 29.
The Soyuz TMA-13M rocket is launched from the Cosmodrome Baikonur in Kazakhstan, in the early hours of May 29.SERGEI ILNITSKY / EPA

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The first launch of Russia's new space rocket after two decades of development was aborted Friday moments before its blastoff as President Vladimir Putin was watching via live feed. The botched attempt to launch the Angara booster rocket was the latest mishap to dog Russia's troubled space industries, whose Soviet-era glory has faded in a series of launch failures. Angara is built to replace the Soyuz, a workhorse of the Soviet and then Russian space program, designed more than four decades ago. Space officials said that an automatic safety system aborted the rocket's blastoff from the Plesetsk launch pad in northwestern Russia for an unspecified reason. Putin ordered Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to investigate and report the cause. The launch was tentatively put off until Saturday.

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--- The Associated Press

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