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Russia launches cluster of foreign satellites
November 21, 2013, 10:57 am


The Dnepr rocket is a conversion of a strategic ballistic missile [AP]

A rocket carrying a cluster of foreign satellites has successfully delivered its cargo into orbit, according to Strategic Missile Forces.

The rocket blasted off from Russia’s Yasny-Dombarovsky launch site in the southeastern Orenburg region on Thursday morning.

“The launch of the heavy converted Dnepr rocket with foreign satellites was carried out in normal mode at 11.10 a.m. Moscow time,” a Strategic Missile Forces representative said. “All the space systems successfully separated from the rocket.”

The Dnepr is based on the RS-20 intercontinental ballistic missile (NATO codename SS-18 “Satan”).

The rocket carries satellites from several countries including the United States, South Korea, Italy, UAE, Poland, Denmark and Canada.

The Dnepr rocket is a conversion of a strategic ballistic missile transformed for commercial use by Russian and Ukrainian enterprises.

The launching operator Kosmotras has already launched 18 rockets of this kind and put more than 60 satellites into orbit.

The RS-20 is the most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile in the world.

It was first launched in 1973 and is still in service with Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces. RS-20 missiles are being gradually removed from Russia’s arsenal and converted into Dnepr launch vehicles.

Source: Agencies