Russian Proton rocket falls back to Earth after liftoff

A Russian Proton rocket carrying a European satellite fell back to Earth on Friday shortly after liftoff in the latest accident to hit the country's once-proud space industry, news reports said.

The rocket's control engine failed 545 seconds after it took off from the Baikonur space centre that Russia leases in Kazakhstan, with the Proton burning up over the Pacific Ocean, ITAR-TASS cited space industry sources as saying.