Russia puts fifth German spy satellite into orbit

July 22nd, 2008 - 3:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, July 22 (RIA Novosti) A Russian carrier rocket has successfully put into orbit a fifth German SAR-Lupe reconnaissance satellite, a Russian Space Forces spokesman said Tuesday. “A Cosmos 3M carrier rocket, launched at 0240 GMT from the Plesetsk space centre in northern Russia, has successfully orbited a German SAR-Lupe satellite,” Lt. Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said.

The German SAR-Lupe satellite is designed to provide high-resolution radar images to NATO military commanders in Europe. It offers spatial resolution of less than one meter, and allows imaging at night and through clouds.

“Control over the satellite has been passed onto the customer,” the spokesman said.

Russia’s Space Forces previously conducted four SAR-Lupe launches between 2006 and 2008 under a 2003 contract signed by Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport and German Cosmos International Satellitenstart Gmbh (a subsidiary of OHB Systems AG).

The contract stipulated five SAR-Lupe launches until 2009.

The Cosmos 3M is a liquid-fuelled two-stage rocket, first launched in 1967, with over 410 successful launches to date. The booster has been designed to lift a payload of up to 1,500 kg into low, medium, and high orbits.

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