Space

Second Belarusian satellite to blast off late 2009

RIA Novosti

22/11/2007 16:08 MOSCOW, November 22 (RIA Novosti) - Belarus's second satellite will be launched from Russia's Plesetsk space center in late 2009, the head of Belarusian company Geoinformational Systems said on Thursday.

Belarus launched its first satellite, Belka, in July 2006. However, a Dnepr rocket carrying the Belarusian satellite, along with several international satellites, crashed shortly after lift off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, due to a first stage engine shutdown.

"The second Belarusian satellite is planned to be orbited by a Russian Rokot carrier rocket from the Plesetsk space center in late 2009," said Sergei Zolotoi, who represents Belka's producer.

He said the second satellite will have a different name. "Giving an old name to a new satellite is bad luck," Zolotoi said, adding that the new spacecraft would be half the weight of the first one and far more maneuverable.

Belka was the name of a Soviet dog, which, along with her companion, Strelka, was the first animal to go into orbit and return alive, making her trip in August 1960.



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