Soyuz Rocket Launch Fails
There are published unconfirmed reports that the most recent launch of a Soyuz-2 unmanned rocket has ended in failure. Apparently, at approximately seven minutes after launch from the Plesetsk spaceport, there was a malfunction aboard the Soyuz third stage.
Reports say the cargo, a mixed military/civilian use Meridian satellite, was lost. It appears the remains of the spacecraft returned to Earth near Tobolsk, Siberia.
The Meridian-5 is a communications satellite that serves as a relay between ground, maritime and airborne users. The launcher was reportedly a Soyuz-2.1b, the most advanced configuration of the venerable and statistically reliable Soyuz system, despite the recent troubles experienced by the rocket.