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Russian rocket falls into sea in failed launch: reports

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A rocket carrying a communications satellite suffered engine trouble and plunged into the Pacific Ocean shortly after launch on Friday, Russian news agencies reported.

The unsuccessful launch of the Intelsat-27 satellite was one of several setbacks for Russia's space program in recent years, including failed satellite launches and an unsuccessful mission to study the Mars moon Phobos.

The Zenit-3SL rocket carrying the satellite suffered engine failure shortly after liftoff, state-run Itar-Tass reported, citing a Russian space industry source. The rocket is a joint production of Ukrainian and Russian companies, it said.

Intelsat-27 was to provide services for media, government and other customers in the Americas and Europe, according to the website of Luxembourg-based Intelsat.

Russia is increasing space spending and plans to send a probe to the moon in 2015, but its celebrations in 2011 of the 50th anniversary of the Soviet achievement of putting the first man in space were marred by several botched satellite launches.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman)

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