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Final Rockot Booster Launches Russian Satellites Into Orbit

The final Rockot booster converted from an intercontinental ballistic missile launched into space Friday (Dec. 27) carrying a trio Russian satellites and a military payload into orbit.

The Rockot, a launch vehicle based on Russia's RS-18 ballistic missile, launched three Gonets-M communications satellites into space from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. The rocket also reportedly carried a military payload called Blits-M, a glass sphere designed to serve as a laser reflector, according to Russianspaceweb.com, which tracks the Russian space industry.

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The final Rockot launch vehicle, built from an old Russian RS-18 intercontinental missile, launched three Gonets-M communications satellites and a military payload into orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2019.

The final Rockot launch vehicle, built from an old Russian RS-18 intercontinental missile, launched three Gonets-M communications satellites and a military payload into orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2019. (Image credit: Krunichev/Roscosmos)
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The final Rockot launch vehicle, built from an old Russian RS-18 intercontinental missile, launched three Gonets-M communications satellites and a military payload into orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2019.

The final Rockot launch vehicle, built from an old Russian RS-18 intercontinental missile, launched three Gonets-M communications satellites and a military payload into orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2019. (Image credit: Krunichev/Roscosmos)

Rocket's final flight lifted off at 2:11 a.m. Moscow Time on Friday (6:11 p.m. EST on Dec. 26). It was the second launch of a Rockot booster, also known as
Rokot," from Plesetsk this year, and the 31st flight of the vehicle in the last 19 years.

"The first launch of [light vehicle] 'Rokot' took place from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on May 16, 2000," Russia's Ministry of Defense said in a statement. "In total, during this period, 31 launches of the 'Rokot' LV were carried out from the cosmodrome, which put about 70 spacecraft of various purposes into orbit."

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Instagram.

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