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Russian booster with German satellite launched from Plesetsk

RIA Novosti

19/12/2006 18:22 MOSCOW, December 19 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian Cosmos 3M booster carrying Germany's SAR-Lupe satellite was launched from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia Tuesday, a spokesman for the Space Forces said.

The satellite is expected to be put into orbit at 5.28 p.m. Moscow time (2.28 p.m. GMT).

"This is the first time Russia is launching a German military spacecraft," Alexei Kuznetsov said.

In 2003, Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport and German COSMOS International Satellitenstart Gmbh (a subsidiary of OHB Systems AG) signed a contract on the launch of five SAR-Lupe satellites until 2009.

The German satellite system is designed to provide high-resolution radar images to NATO military commanders in Europe. It offers spatial resolution of less than 1 meter, and allows imaging at night and through clouds.

The Cosmos-3M is a liquid-fueled two-stage rocket, first launched in 1967, with over 410 successful launches to date. The booster has been designed to lift a payload of up to 1500 kg (3,300 lbs) into low, medium and high orbits.

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