Thursday, June 19, 2008

Russian rocket launches U.S. satellites into orbit

Russia launched a carrier rocket Thursday to send six U.S. commercial satellites into space, Russian news agencies reported.

The Kosmos-3M carrier rocket boosted off at 10:36 Moscow time (0636 GMT) from the Kapustin Yar military testing site in southern Russia. It carried into space five Orbcomm satellites and one concept demonstration satellite. The satellites weigh 1,070 kg in all.

"According to the ground monitoring services, the launch was successful and the tasks assigned have been fulfilled," a spokesman for the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

The Orbcomm system provides two-way global data exchange in a digital format, as well as coordinate defining services. The concept demonstration satellite has become part of the Orbcomm system as well.

The Kosmos-3M is a liquid-fueled two-stage rocket, first launched in 1967, with over 410 successful launches to date. The booster has been designed to lift a payload of up to 1,500 kg into low, medium, and high orbits.



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