Russian Soyuz rocket places satellite into orbit after delays

Updated: 2013-12-29 02:50


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MOSCOW - An upgraded Soyuz rocket on Saturday placed a scientific satellite into orbit after several delays earlier this week, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The Soyuz-2.1v two-stage light-weight rocket, which features a new engine and digital guidance system, blasted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia's northwestern region of Arkhangelsk at 16:30 Moscow time (1230 GMT), the ministry said.

The satellite separated from the upper stage and entered the designated orbit at 18:09 Moscow time (1409 GMT), it added.

The first launch of the rocket was initially scheduled for last December, but was postponed until this week due to various reasons. After the last minute cancellations on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Russian Aerospace Defense Forces spokesman Dmitry Zenin said Thursday that the launch could be postponed until 2014.

A state commission working in the cosmodrome on Saturday decided to carry out the launch at 14:00 Moscow time (1000 GMT) and put it off again.

The Soyuz is the most frequently used rocket in the world with more than 1,700 launches since its debut in 1966, the RIA Novosti news agency said.