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Russian rocket launches South Korea’s Kompsat-2

Moscow, Russia, 28 July 2006: A Russian rocket carrier rocket with a South Korean satellite was launched from a site in northern Russia Friday, the space agency said. Russia’s Federal Space Agency said the Rokot carrier-rocket with a Briz-KM booster, carrying a Kompsat-2 Earth Remote-Sensing satellite built under Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) program, had lifted off at 11.05 a.m. Moscow time (7.05 a.m. GMT) from the Plesetsk launch site.

The carrier-rocket will deploy the satellite, weighing approximately 800 kg, into a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 685 km (about 425 miles). According to KARI researchers, the Kompsat-2 satellite will provide multi-spectral, high-resolution images for Earth mapping. Moscow and Seoul signed an agreement in 2004 to develop South Korea’s civilian space launch system, and are carrying out programs to train the country’s first astronaut by 2007.

The Rokot carrier-rocket, developed by state-run Khrunichev Center, is a modification of the RS-18 (SS-19 Mod.1 Stilletto) two-stage ballistic missile that is being gradually decommissioned from Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces. The rocket is designed to put spacecraft weighing under two tons into near-earth orbits. All commercial launches involving Rokots are carried out by Evrorokot, a joint venture in which Khrunichev Center holds a 49% stake, and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company holds 51%.