Stunning video of Russian rocket crash in Kazakhstan

Russia's space program suffered another setback on Tuesday, when a booster rocket carrying three satellites tilted off course and crashed about a mile away from the launch pad on live TV. An engine on the Proton-M rocket shut down 17 seconds into the flight -- it's still not clear why -- sending it careening back towards Earth. If you watch the above video, you can clearly see the moment when the flight went awry.

No one was hurt, although Russian officials say that rocket fuel burn-off has left some toxic gas in the area.

This was the most recent of several accidents that have plagued the Russian space program, which under much of the Soviet era challenged or even surpassed the American effort in sophistication and prestige. According to the Associated Press, "observers say that the problem is rooted in a post-Soviet industrial meltdown that has stalled the modernization of the space industry."

The rocket was not launched from within Russia but from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, a legacy of the Soviet space program that Moscow still uses for space-bound rockets.

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Max Fisher · July 1, 2013