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December 4th, 2017

Russia Launches a Military Satellite

An archive photo of a Soyuz-2.1b launch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, this one occurring on February 7, 2016. Photo is courtesy of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.

The TASS Russian News Agency is reporting that a Russian Soyuz-2.1b took off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Saturday and successfully placed a satellite for the Russian Defense Ministry into orbit.

The ministry stated that the Soyuz-2.1b carrier, at the designated time, successfully took to the target orbit the space apparatus for interests of the Russian Defense Ministry. The launch and taking of the apparatus to the orbit went in a regular mode, the ministry said.

This was the fourth launch of Souz-2 carriers from Plesetsk since 2017. The previous start was on September 22 — Soyuz-2.1b took to the orbit the Glonass-M navigation space apparatus. Since 2004, from Plesetsk, 32 Soyuz-2 1a, 1b and 1v rockets have been launched.

On November 28, a Soyuz-2.1b space rocket blasted off from Vostochny with a payload of 19 satellites. The weather-watching satellite Meteor-M N. 2-1 constituted the bulk of the payload. Roscosmos then said that the Fregat booster and the satellites had been delivered to an intermediate orbit. A short while later, the corporation said the satellite could not be found where expected and no contact with it could be established.

Roscosmos said, citing findings of the accident commission, that the Fregat booster with 19 satellites most likely fell down into northern Atlantic. According to Roscosmos, the upper stage of the Soyuz-2.1b rocket was put onto the support orbit in a routine mode and there were no claims about work of the carrier’s systems or hardware. In this recent launch from Plesetsk, a booster was not used.