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Russian booster brings German satellite SAR-Lupe into orbit

RIA Novosti

01/11/2007 09:40 MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti) - A Cosmos 3M carrier rocket has successfully brought a German SAR-Lupe communications satellite into orbit, a spokesman for Russia's Space Forces said on Thursday.

"A Cosmos 3M carrier rocket launched from the Plesetsk space center [in north Russia] at 3:51 a.m. Moscow time (00:51 a.m. GMT) successfully took a German SAR-Lupe satellite into the target orbit. Control over the satellite has been passed onto the customer," Alexei Zolotukhin said.

The German satellite 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 satellite was orbited at 4:20 a.m. Moscow (1:20 a.m. GMT), but confirmation came later as the satellite was outside radio coverage zone at the time

It is the third time Russia has launched a German military spacecraft from Plesetsk.

Russia's Space Forces conducted SAR-Lupe launches in December 2006 and July 2007, under a 2003 contract between Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport and German Cosmos International Satellitenstart Gmbh (a subsidiary of OHB Systems AG), which stipulates five SAR-Lupe launches until 2009.

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 1,500 kg (3,300 lbs) into low, medium, and high orbits.

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