Russian rocket launched with eight satellites on board (adds details)

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MOSCOW, October 27 (RIA Novosti) - A Kosmos-3M carrier rocket with a Russian Mozhayets-5 educational satellite and seven foreign minisatellites on board was successfully launched from Russia's Plisetsk Space Center at 10:52 Moscow time, a spokesman for the Russian Federal Space Agency said Thursday.

"The launch went smoothly, and all the satellites are set to undock from the Russian carrier rocket at 11:27 Moscow time one by one with an interval of a few seconds," the source said.

"The Mozhayets-5 is the main payload," Alexei Kuznetsov, the official spokesman for the Russian Space Forces, said. It was designed by students of the Mozhaisky Military Space Academy to test laser-optic communications.

Two similar satellites, the Mozhayets-3 and the Mozhayets-4, are already in orbit, in addition to the Tatyana satellite, launched in early 2005 to mark the 250th anniversary of Moscow State University.

The minisatellites being put into orbit are the China-DMC, Britain's TopSat, Iran's SINA-1, Norway's Ncube-2, Germany's UWE-1, Japan's XI-V, and the European Space Agency's SSET Express.

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