Page last updated at 11:26 GMT, Thursday, 10 December 2009

Russian missile test launch fails


The light hovered over the Norwegian sky

A Russian test launch of an intercontinental missile has failed, resulting in a white light seen over parts of Norway.

The submarine-based Bulava ballistic missile failed when launched from the White Sea, the Defence Ministry's press office told Itar-Tass news agency.

Russian newspapers had earlier reported the failure. At least six of 13 previous tests also ended in failure.

The Bulava can carry six individually targeted nuclear warheads.

It is designed to have a range of 10,000km (6,200 miles), but its repeated failures have caused embarrassment for Russia which hoped it would support its nuclear deterrent.

Spiral light

Russian media reported that on Wednesday's test the third stage engine failed.


It was fired from the Dmitry Donskoi submarine in the White Sea, the usual site for such missile tests by Russian submarines.

In Norway, a white spiral light was reported over the city of Tromso at the same time, with many people wondering if it was a UFO sighting or meteor.

In one of the recent tests a Bulava self-destructed after a malfunction during the first stage of its flight from the White Sea, Reuters news agency reported.

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