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Russia to launch six U.S. communication satellites into orbit

RIA Novosti

18/06/2008 20:11 MOSCOW, June 18 (RIA Novosti) -- A Russian carrier rocket will orbit on Thursday six U.S. commercial satellites, Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said on Wednesday.

The launch of the Cosmos-3M carrier rocket with Orbcomm satellites on board has been scheduled for 10:36 Moscow time (6:36 GMT) from the Kapustin Yar military testing site in southern Russia.

Orbcomm is the world's first commercial global wireless data and messaging system. The system uses low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to provide cost-effective tracking, monitoring and messaging capabilities to and from anywhere in the world.

Orbcomm currently operates 29 satellites in six orbital planes that provide worldwide coverage. These satellites are relatively small in size, weighing less than one hundred pounds and measuring only 42 inches in diameter and six inches in height.

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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