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Russian military satellite in orbit after launch

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by Staff Writers
Moscow (UPI) Feb 28, 2009
A Russian military satellite is now in orbit above the Earth after being launched with a Proton-K heavy carrier rocket Saturday, an official says.

A Space Forces spokesman, Lt. Col. Alexei Zolotukhin, said the satellite successfully separated from the Russian rocket after being launched from the Baikonur space center, RIA Novosti reported.

"The separation of the satellite from the upper stage took place in a normal mode," Zolotukhin said.

The Baikonur center, located in the central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan, is one of two sites Russia uses to launch rockets and test-fire ballistic missiles. RIA Novosti said the other site is northwest Russia's Plesetsk space center.

Saturday's launch marked the most recent use of the Proton-K heavy carrier rocket, which was first used in 1968.

There have been several thousand launches of the rocket since it was adopted. There are plans to use the rocket to deliver International Space Station modules to the near-earth orbit.

Russia currently uses two launch sites for space carrier rockets and ballistic missiles tests: the Baikonur space center in the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan, which it has leased since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the Plesetsk space center in northwest Russia.

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