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Russia plans 8 more rocket launches this summer

(Xinhua)

09:06, July 17, 2012

MOSCOW, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Russia plans to launch eight space rockets by the end of this summer, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin confirmed Monday.

"We rather intensively increase the pace of launches from Baikonur and Plesetsk (space centers)," Rogozin told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at a cabinet meeting, a day after Russia sent three astronauts to space.

According to Rogozin, who is in charge of the country's military-industrial department, a monitoring satellite for natural resources will be launched atop a Soyuz-FG rocket on Sunday. The satellite will also work as an early warning monitor for natural disasters.

"This is especially important, taking into account the tragic situation in southern Russia," Rogozin said, referring to the recent floods in southern Krasnodar territory that have claimed more than 170 lives.

Launches were also scheduled for July 26, Aug. 1, Aug. 13, Aug. 30 and Sept. 19, as Russia plans to send a set of communication satellites from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan into space.

They will be put into orbit by carrier rockets Proton-M, Soyuz U and Soyuz 2-1A, according to Rogozin.

On July 28, a Rocket missile will be launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia. On Aug. 15, a commercial sea launch was also scheduled.

Russia's next manned space flight was slated for October, Rogozin said, adding that Medvedev was invited to attend the launch in Baikonur.

Russia is one of the leading space powers in the world. After the retirement of the U.S. shuttle fleet, Russia's Soyuz spacecraft is the only way for astronauts to reach the International Space Station (ISS)until at least 2015.

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