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Russia's Rokot carrier rockets to launch two ESA satellites

RIA Novosti

17:49 04/10/2010

MOSCOW, October 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Rokot carrier rockets will take two European Space Agency (ESA) scientific satellites to orbit in 2012-2013, the head of the ESA Moscow Office said on Monday.

"We have signed contracts for two launches of ESA remote sensing satellites on Russia's Rokot carrier rockets," Rene Pischel said.

The first launch will deliver to orbit the SWARM satellite, which will survey the geomagnetic field of the Earth.

It is unknown what spacecraft will be conveyed into space on the second Rokot, but the launch is expected to take place in 2012-2013, Pischel said.

The Rokot launch vehicle is a modified version of the Russian RS-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) intercontinental ballistic missile. It uses the two original lower stages of the ICBM, in conjunction with a Breeze-KM upper-stage for commercial payloads.

The ESA launched its CryoSat-2 satellite onboard Russia's Dnepr booster in this April. The satellite is designed to monitor the effects of global warming on polar glaciers and has a life span of three years.

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