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Russia Launches Military Satellite

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An unmanned Soyuz-U launch vehicle has successfully placed a Russian military payload into orbit. The secret payload is probably a reconnaissance satellite.

The launch was from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia. Launch time was 21:38 Moscow time.

Sources: RIA Novosti, ITAR-TASS

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The Starsem press release is reproduced below:

Success of the 1708th launch of Soyuz

Evry, May 3, 2006

The 1708th flight of a Soyuz launch vehicle was performed Wednesday, May 3, 2006 from the Plessetsk Cosmodrome in Russia at 9:38 p.m. Moscow time (7:38 p.m., in Paris).

Starsem, Arianespace and their Russian partners report that the governmental spacecraft was accurately placed on the target orbit. This was the third Soyuz family mission in 2006.

The next Starsem flight will be accomplished for the European Eumetsat Organization, launching the MetOp, the first European system in polar orbit dedicated to meteorology and climate observation.

With the introduction of the Soyuz at the Guiana Space Center (CSG), this famed Russian launch vehicle becomes an integral part of the European launcher fleet, together with the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and the lightweight Vega. To be offered exclusively by Arianespace to the commercial market, the Soyuz at CSG is Europe's reference medium-class launch vehicle for governmental and commercial missions.

Starsem is the Soyuz Company, bringing together all key players involved in the production, operation and international commercial marketing of the world's most versatile launch vehicle. Shareholders in Starsem are Arianespace, EADS, the Russian Federal Space Agency and the Samara Space Center.

The Starsem manifest for Soyuz missions currently includes contracted launches for the European Space Agency, Eumetsat, MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd and Globalstar LLC.

Source: Starsem Press Release

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