Ottawa upset toxic Russian rocket could end up in waters of Canadian Arctic

The federal government has told the European Space Agency it's unhappy about plans to launch a satellite today that would drop a rocket stage likely containing toxic fuel in the sensitive waters of the Canadian Arctic.

Brian Maxwell of Global Affairs Canada says they have concerns about the impact on the sensitive Arctic ecosystem.

The federal response comes after Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna added his voice to protests over the plan.

The environmental probe is designed to monitor trace gases, and a similar launch is planned for next year.

Both are to be launched from Russia using Soviet-era rockets using a fuel so toxic that almost every space program in the world has moved away from it.

The second stage of the rocket, containing up to a tonne of unburned fuel, is expected to splash down off Baffin Island in waters claimed by Canada.

The area is some of the richest in the Arctic and Inuit communities routinely hunt there.