The launch of a Molniya-M rocket that was to deliver to orbit a new Molniya-3K communication satellite was unsuccessful. The rocket started from the Plesetsk launch site at 04:49 MSK (00:49 UTC) on June 21, 2005, but its third stage failed on the sixth minute of the flight. The third stage with the payload crashed in Tyumen region.
Molniya-M launcher is the most reliable launcher of those produced by the TsSKB-Progress in Samara. Of the 275 launches of Molniya-M conducted so far, the launcher itself failed only once (in 11 missions it was the "L" booster stage that failed). This gives it a "confirmed operational reliability" of 98.5%. Today's launch was the 276th and, if the initial reports about the third stage are confirmed, the second failure.