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Rokot Launch Set for January 15

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The launch of a Rokot carrier rocket, postponed indefinitely in early December over technical issues, is scheduled for January 15, Russian Space Forces spokesman Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said on Saturday.

MOSCOW, December 29 (RIA Novosti) - The launch of a Rokot carrier rocket, postponed indefinitely in early December over technical issues, is scheduled for January 15, Russian Space Forces spokesman Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said on Saturday.

“A state commission resolved at a session on Friday that the launch of the light-class Rokot rocket will be held on January 15,” the spokesman said.

The blastoff had initially been scheduled for December 8, but was postponed to fix malfunctions in the Briz-KM booster.

The failure was not the first for Briz, which has an imperfect reliability record. Due to an apparent glitch in the Briz-M booster, two telecommunications satellites were not taken to the designated orbit in August.

The light-class Rokot launch vehicle is a modified version of the Russian RS-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) intercontinental ballistic missile. It uses the two original lower stages of the ICBM, in conjunction with a Breeze-KM upper-stage for commercial payloads.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, a total of 16 Rokot launches have been carried out from the Plesetsk site since the first launch on May 16, 2000.

However, Rokot launches have been suspended for about 18 months after it failed to put the Geo-IK-2 military satellite into the designated orbit on February 1, 2011.

In the first launch of Rokot in more than a year, a rocket with a Cosmos class military satellite and three civilian satellites on board blasted off on July 28, 2012.