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Roskosmos announced on Friday a date of launching from the Baikonur cosmodrome the newest rocket Soyuz-2 with a European satellite
The Russian space agency Roskosmos announced on Friday a date of launching from the Baikonur cosmodrome the newest rocket Soyuz-2 with a European satellite. The rocket with the European satellite MetOp is to blast off on October 7, the agency's official told ITAR-TASS. The launch of Soyuz-2 was initially scheduled for July, but it was repeatdely postponed because of ground equipment problems. Preparation of the satellite and the rocket with a Briz-M propulsion unit began at Baikonur on Thursday. Specialists of the Lavochkin science and production association and of European firms have come to the cosmodrome for that. It is planned to launch another Soyuz-2 rocket with the European satellite KOROT by the end of this year, the Roskosmos official said. The Soyuz-2 carrier rocket was designed and manufactured at Samara's science and production space rocket centre TSKB-Progress. It differs from earlier versions in higher performance of first and second stage engines and availability of a digital control system that ensures the rocket's flight on optimal trajectories and high precision of payload delivery into orbit. A larger diametre of the rocket's cone increases an area for the payload. Soyuz--2 was flight-tested at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in November 2004, with a lifesize mockup of a satellite used as a payload. The new carrier rocket adapted to conditions of the Kourou cosmodrome in French Guiana will be used for launches under a Soyuz-Kourou project. MetOP the first dsatellite made by EADS Astrium company for the European Space Agency and the European satellite meteorology organisation EUMETSAT. The series will have three satellites. MetOp will be the first European satellite operating in a near-polar orbit.
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