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Russian sends military satellite into orbit

(Xinhua)

16:59, March 30, 2012

MOSCOW, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Russia launched a Proton-K carrier rocket with a military satellite on Friday, the Aerospace Defense Forces said.

Spokesman Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said the launch, controlled by the Forces' ground-based automated control system, "went smoothly."

"The rocket put the Cosmos-series military satellite into a designated orbit at 09:49 a.m. Moscow time (0549 GMT)," Zolotukhin said.

According to the spokesman, the military satellite is expected to separate from the rocket's DM-2 upper stage at 4:27 p.m. Moscow time (1227 GMT) on Friday.

The launch was the 311th and the final one using Russia's Proton-K rocket, which is no longer made in Russia and is replaced by a modernized Proton-M rocket.

According to local reports, Russia is planning to operate a constellation of 60 to 70 military satellites with reconnaissance, missile early warning and other capabilities.

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