India satellite rocket explodes after take-off

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An Indian space rocket carrying a communications satellite has exploded on take-off.

Live TV footage showed the rocket disappearing in a plume of smoke moments after its launch in Sriharikota near the city of Chennai (Madras).

India's space organisation said it was investigating the cause of the failure.

India is seeking to increase its share of the growing commercial satellite launch market, and says it wants to send a manned mission in space in 2016.

India's Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) was carrying the GSAT- 5P communication satellite when it exploded in the first stage of the flight on Saturday.

"The performance of the (rocket) was normal up to about 50 seconds. Soon after that the vehicle developed large altitude error leading to breaking up of the vehicle," the head of the Indian Space Research Organisation, K Radhakrishnan, told reporters.

"But what caused this interruption has to be studied in detail."

India has successfully launched lighter satellites in recent years, but has faced problems sending up heavier payloads.

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