Russia has launched three new military satellites aboard a Rokot rocket that took off from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in Northern Russia on Tuesday, Russian Aerospace Defense Forces spokesperson Alexei Zolotukhin said in a statement. This is the country’s first launch for the year and Rokot’s second since February 2011 when a technical glitch resulted in placing a Geo-IK-2 satellite into an incorrect orbit.
The much-awaited launch, which had been originally scheduled for early December, was postponed due to a malfunction in the rocket’s Briz booster built by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center.
The Rokot launcher, weighing 107 tons, is a derivative of the Russian RS-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The carrier rocket has two original ICBM lower stages and an upper stage used for commercial payloads. It is designed to take satellites weighing less than two tons into low near-Earth orbits.
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