Russia’s federal space agency says an unmanned rocket and its payload of two communications satellites failed to reach the orbit, the latest in a series of failures that has dogged Moscow’s space programme.

Roscosmos said Tuesday that a secondary booster module of the Proton-M rocket carrying Russian and Indonesian satellites switched off earlier than expected minutes after late Monday’s takeoff from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Last August, Russia lost contact with a communications satellite shortly after a Proton-M launch. In 2007, a Proton-M carrying a Japanese communications satellite crashed.

Roscosmos spokesman Alexei Kuznetsov told the Itar Tass news agency Tuesday that Roscosmos might halt Proton-M launches after an investigation.

The 50-metres long booster with a payload of up to 20 metric tons has been in use since 1965.

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