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Secret Russian Satellite Launched.
A Russian Soyuz rocket with a classified government cargo lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in far northern Russia. The Molniya-class booster took flight at approximately 0705 UTC (2:05 am EST), marking the first launch this year from the space centre. Details about the military communications satellite weren't revealed, only its name: Kosmos 2405. Russian President, Vladimir Putin was on hand to watch the launch.
The 1686th flight of a Soyuz family launch vehicle (Molnia) was performed Wednesday, February 18, 2004 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia at 10:05 a.m. Moscow time (8:05 a.m., in Paris).
Starsem and its Russian partners report that the governmental spacecraft was accurately placed on the target orbit.
The launch was performed in the presence of Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation.
This was the second Soyuz family mission in 2004. Last year, Soyuz was launched 10 times with 100% success and performed its first GTO mission with Israeli Amos 2 satellite. Ten Soyuz flights are planned for 2004.
Soyuz sustained launch rate confirms its position as one of the world's primary launch vehicles. This rate also demonstrates Samara Space Center's continuous production capacity, as well as the operational capability of launch teams at Baikonur under the authority of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency.
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 Aviation and Space Agency and the Samara Space Center.
The Starsem manifest for Soyuz missions currently includes contracted launches for the European Space Agency and Eumetsat.
Original Source: Starsem News Release
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