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1st Ld-Writethru: Russia launches three military satellites
[January 15, 2013]

1st Ld-Writethru: Russia launches three military satellites

MOSCOW, Jan 15, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- A Rokot rocket carrying three military satellites blasted off from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia on Tuesday, the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces said.

The carrier rocket lifted off at 8:25 p.m. Moscow time (1625 GMT) from the space center, Aerospace Defense spokesperson Alexei Zolotukhin told local media.

The three satellites are expected to reach their designated orbit at 10:09 p.m. Moscow time (1809 GMT), he added.

The launch, initially scheduled for early December, was postponed due to malfunction in the Briz booster built by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, according to the official. It was the first launch of a space rocket by the Defense Troops from Plesetsk this year.

Russia suspended the launch of Rokot carrier rockets after a failed launch in February 2011, when the rocket sent a Geo-IK-2 satellite into an incorrect orbit.

The 107-tonne light Rokot launcher is a derivative of the Russian RS-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The carrier rocket contains two original lower stages of the ICBM and an upper stage for commercial payloads. It is designed to place satellites weighing less than two tonnes into low near-Earth orbits.

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