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Russian Soyuz-ST rocket launch from Kourou space center delayed

RIA Novosti

19:4116/06/2009 LE BOURGET (France), June 16 (RIA Novosti) - The launch of Russia's modernized Soyuz-ST carrier rocket from the Kourou space center in French Guiana has been put off until the first half of 2010, the director of a space design bureau said on Tuesday.

Igor Barmin, head of the KBOM space design bureau, said the launch was planned for December 2009, but was delayed for unspecified reasons.

Kourou is located 50 km (31 miles) from the town of Cayenne on the Atlantic coast of South America.

Last year, Russia's space agency and French satellite launch firm Arianespace signed a contract, worth an estimated $300-$400 million, to launch 10 Russian Soyuz-ST carrier rockets from Kourou.

The Kourou facility is mainly used to launch geostationary satellites into orbit.

The center's proximity to the equator will enable Russian rockets to orbit heavier satellites than from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan or Plesetsk in northern Russia.

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