On June 21, 2005 at 04:49 MSK (00:49 UTC) the Space Forces conducted a launch of a Molniya-M space launcher. The flight ended six minutes after the launch because of a failure of the third stage engine. The rocket and its payload crashed in Uvatski region of Tyumen oblast.

The launcher was to place a Molniya-3K communication satellite to a highly-elliptical orbit. Satellites of this type are produced by the Reshetnev Applied Mechanics NPO in Zheleznogorsk. They provide communication services to the armed forces. It is a modification of the Molniya-3 spacecraft, which is to replace it (the Molniya-3 launched on June 19, 2003 was the last satellite of this type). It was the second launch of Molniya-3K; the first one was conducted on July 20, 2001.

Molniya-M is among the most reliable space launchers currently in service - according to the data provided by its manufacturer, TsSKB-Progress, it was its only second failure in a series of 276 launches.

Today’s launch was the second of the five launches of military satellites planned for 2005.