Russia to resume Rokot rocket launches

Preparations have entered their final stage at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in Russia's Arkhangelsk region as a Rokot light-weight launch vehicle, a Russian converted intercontinental ballistic missile, carrying several satellites is set to lift off from it on July 28, a space rocket sector spokesman told Interfax-AVN.

"It will be the first launch of a Rokot rocket following the loss of the Geo-IK geodetic satellite in February 2011. Launches of these rockets were suspended in order to identify the reasons behind the launch vehicle's malfunction and fix all defects. The developer of this rocket - the Khrunichev Space Center - has made some adjustments to it. Its specialists have recently concluded that the rocket is ready for launch," he said.

A Briz-KM upper stage, also designed and built by the Khrunichev center, will be used to place these satellites into orbit, the spokesman said.

However, problems with the upper stage detected during pre-launch preparations made specialists reschedule the launch from mid-July to the end of the month.

"The main goal of this launch is to add two more satellites to the Gonets civilian communication satellite system. Rokot rockets are expected to help put another three Gonets-M satellites into orbit before the end of the year," the spokesman said.

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