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Russia launches military satellite

The Cosmos-2446 satellite being launched from Plesetsk space center in northern Russia on Tuesday. RIA Novosti photo

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia has successfully placed in orbit a Cosmos-series military satellite to increase its orbital reconnaissance grouping. The satellite was launched by using a Molnia-M carrier rocket, an official spokesman said.

The Space Forces launched the Cosmos-2446 satellite from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia at 08:00 Moscow time (05:00 GMT), Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted Space Forces spokesman Alexei Zolotukhin as saying on Tuesday.

Zolotukhin said that the satellite was successfully put into a designated orbit at 09:45 Moscow time (06:45 GMT) according to standard procedures.

It is believed that Russia operates a network of about 60-70 military reconnaissance satellites. However, some military analysts are of the opinion that the new satellite could be a part of Russia's Oko (Eye) orbital missile early warning network.

The four-stage medium-class Molnia-M, converted from the R-7 Semyorka ICBM, has a lift-off weight of 305 metric tonnes and is used for launching spacecraft of up to two metric tonnes into high-elliptical orbits, the agency said.

Molnia-M carrier was launched earlier from the Plesetsk cosmodrome on October 23, 2007. Russia has launched a total of 225 Molnia-M carrier rockets in the last four decades.

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