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A Kosmos-3M booster rocket has blasted off from Russia's Plesetsk cosmodrome
A Kosmos-3M booster rocket has blasted off from Russia's Plesetsk cosmodrome to put into orbit one Russian and eight foreign satellites, an official at the launch pad in the north of the country told Itar-Tass. The cluster launch includes Russia's Mozhayets-5 and the first Iranian remote probing satellites Mesbah and Sinah-1, the official said. "The satellites have to reach preset orbits in about half an hour; the Russian unit will be the last to separate from the booster," he noted. Mozhayets-5, an experimental satellite, is the main payload of the Thursday launch, intended as an interface in training satellite control at the Mozhaisky military space academy. Its other function is to assess the influece of radiation on avionics at an altitude of 700 to 800 kilometers. China DMC+4, developed by Britain's SSTL is a remote-probing unit equipped with two photographic cameras with definitions of 32 and 4 meters. One will function in the natural-disaster warning mode, the other will be used in cartography projects. Britain's TopSat is intended to prove that a mini-satellite is capable of obtaining and transmitting pictures with a definition of up to 2.5 meters, an official at the Russian Roskosmos aerospace agency said. The project is funded by the British national space center and the defense ministry. Mesbah, one of the two Iranian satellites, was manufactured by Italy's Carlo Gavazzi Space. Sinah-1 was manufactured in Iran. SSFTI Express of the European Space Agency, with a mass of 62 kilograms, was developed within the framework of a European educational project for students of ten universities. When in orbit, it will launch three ultra small pico-satellites each weighing one kilogram. The pico-satellites belong to the University of Wurzburg, Germany, the Tokyo University and the Andoya rocket range /Norway/. The two-stage booster Kosmos-3M can take payloads of up to 1,500 kilograms to 1,700-kilometer to 250-kilometer orbits. Russia has been using it since 1971.
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