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Russia to put military satellite in orbit

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : Russia is in the final stages of launch a Zenith-M carrier rocket Friday, with a Cosmos-series military satellite on board from a space centre in Kazakhstan, Russia's space agency said.

"The launch will be conducted at 14.00 Moscow time to expand the orbital group of Russia's military satellites," an official at the Federal Space Agency said.

Russia is reported to be currently operating a network of about 60-70 military reconnaissance satellites.

Zenith-M is a modified version of the Zenith-3SL delivery vehicle used to launch spacecraft from the Sea Launch consortium's floating launch platform in the Pacific Ocean.

The new Zenith rocket has only two stages, while the Zenith-3SL uses an additional booster.

Meanwhile, Russia said Thursday it had successfully put into orbit a US Genesis-2 commercial satellite using a modified version of an RS-20 Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan) intercontinental ballistic missile under the Russian-Ukrainian Dnepr spacecraft launch programme.