The World : Soviet Space Setbacks Told

The Soviet Union has suffered two major space program accidents in recent weeks, including the largest space-vehicle loss since the U.S. shuttle disaster, an authoritative aerospace journal said. Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine said that a 770-ton SL-12 Proton booster, the Soviet Union's most powerful rocket, failed during an unmanned launch on Jan. 30. A second failure cited by the magazine was the deliberate explosion of a Cosmos military reconnaissance satellite on Jan. 29 to prevent it from falling back to Earth, possibly into U.S. hands, after it malfunctioned. The magazine quoted U.S. intelligence sources and Geoffrey Perry, head of Britain's Kettering Space Observer Group.

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