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Kazakhstan asks too much for rocket crash - Russian space agency

RIA Novosti

09/08/2006 13:54 MOSCOW, August 9 (RIA Novosti) - Kazakhstan has over valuated the damage a July 27 Russian carrier rocket crash caused to the country, a spokesman for the Russian Space Agency said Wednesday.

A Dnepr carrier rocket carrying a large payload of satellites crashed shortly after liftoff from the Baikonur space center, which Russia rents from the Central Asian country, due to a first stage engine shutdown.

"The premature statements made by a number of Kazakh officials on financial compensation for Dnepr crash contradict an intergovernmental protocol dated August 4, 2006 which states that the sum of compensation shall be established only after the cause of the crash has been determined and officially announced," Igor Panarin said.

He added that "anyway the sum of $333 million as reported by media was not only simply over valuated, but over valuated by many times."

Panarin also said a joint Russian-Kazakh group had given medical examinations to about 2,000 local citizens in the region where the rocket crashed and only 7% out of them had slight health problems.

He said all remaining fragments of the crashed rocket would be collected by August 20 and taken to a special hangar at Baikonur, where specialists would continue their work to establish the cause of the incident.

The Dnepr's wreckage was discovered 150 kilometers (93 miles) from the space center on a steppe, far removed from any residential buildings. Kazakh officials said earlier there had been no casualties or environmental damage.

The carrier rocket, a civilian version of the heavy R-36M2 Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan) intercontinental ballistic missile, was carrying 18 Russian and foreign-made mini-satellites.

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