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Russia launches Meridian Communication Satellite

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MOSCOW (BNS): Russia has launched a Meridian communications satellite on Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket from the Plesetsk Space Centre in northern Russia, the Ministry of Defence said.

The rocket was successfully launched at 4:43 a.m. Moscow time (01:43 GMT), RIA Novosti quoted Col. Alexei Zolotukhin, a spokesperson for Russia's Aerospace Defence Forces as saying.

According to the report, this is the fourth time that a Soyuz-2 rocket was launched from the Plesetsk space centre this year.

The Soyuz-2 three-stage carrier rocket is an upgraded version of the Soyuz rocket, which has been used in Russia's manned and unmanned space programs since the 1960s.

Soyuz-2 can carry a payload of 7,800 kilograms into the Earth's orbit and 4,500 kilograms into higher orbits. Soyuz-2.1a, a three-stage carrier rocket with a digital flight control system, was first launched in 2011, the report said.

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