Russia Launches New Military Satellite

MOSCOW (Interfax-AVN) --The Russian Space Forces launched a Kosmos-3M rocket carrying a militarysatellite from the Plesetsk space center on Tuesday, Lt. Col. AlexeiZolotukhin, a spokesman for the Russian Space Forces, told Russia's InterfaxNews Agency.

The satellite will serve the RussianDefense Ministry's purposes and will join the Russian military satelliteconstellation, he said.

"The rocket launchpassed normally," he said.

The Titov space test andcontrol center is now tracking the rocket, and the satellite is to be put intoorbit at 6:08 p.m. Moscow time (2:08 p.m. GMT), when it will be out of sight ofground automatic control systems, Zolotukhin said.

Tuesday's successfulKosmos-3M liftoff came less than a week after the failure ofanother Russian-built rocket, a Proton-M booster, which crashed on the uninhabitedsteppes of Kazakhstan while attemptingto orbit a Japanese communications satellite.

An investigation into thatfailed launch from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome is underway. Staff Writer Tariq Malik contributed to this report from New York City.

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