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Russia's Cosmos 3M rocket blasts off with six U.S. satellites

RIA Novosti

19/06/2008 12:30 MOSCOW, June 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has successfully launched a Cosmos 3M rocket with six U.S. satellites onboard from a space center in southern Russia, a spokesman for the Russian Strategic Missile Forces said on Thursday.

Col. Alexander Vovk said the rocket with Orbcomm satellites blasted off at 10:36 a.m. Moscow time (06:36 GMT) from Kapustin Yar, in the Astrakhan Region.

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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