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New Russian carrier rocket launched from Baikonur

RIA Novosti

27/12/2006 17:50 MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) - A new Russian carrier rocket Soyuz 2-1B with a French satellite Corot on board has lifted off from the Baikonur space center in the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan, a spokesman for the Federal Space Agency said Wednesday.

The new version of the Soyuz 2-1A carrier rocket has a more powerful third-stage engine designed to significantly increase its overall performance and provide additional payload capacity, which is increased by one metric ton.

Viktor Remishevsky, the agency's deputy head, said earlier, "This rocket will be the world's best for the kerosene and liquefied oxygen-propelled class of carriers."

The rocket's previous version successfully put into orbit the European meteorological satellite MetOP.

The French Space Agency (CNES), the European Space Agency, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Brazil are involved in the project.

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