MOSCOW, July 27 (Xinhua) -- A Russian Proton-M carrier rocket was seriously damaged when the cargo train carrying it side-swiped another train from the opposite direction last week, experts said Tuesday.
"The commission will present its final conclusion later, yet now it is obvious that some components of the rocket are seriously damaged," said a source from the rocket-and-space field as quoted by Russian media.
The incident occurred on July 18 in the southwestern region of Ulyanovsk. Both trains included outsize cars which came into contact with each other as the trains passed, damaging several carriages.
The central block of the rocket's upper stage was reported to have been damaged the most.
The announcement followed earlier allegations that there was no harm to the rocket after the railroad incident.
The return of the rocket to its builder, the Russian state Khrunichev Space Research Center, for repair was being discussed.
The rocket, which continued to its destination at the Kazakh Baikonur Cosmodrome after the accident, was scheduled to launch three Glonass-M navigation satellites on Sept. 2.
But its use is now in question.
Anatoly Perminov, head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, said the accident would not affect the launch, because the Khrunichev space center had already sent another carrier rocket.