MOSCOW, March 31 (Sputnik) — A Rokot carrier rocket lifted off on Tuesday from the Plesetsk space center in northwestern Russia to deliver a trio of Gonets-M communications satellites and an unspecified military satellite into orbit, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The Gonets-M satellites will be part of Russia’s low-orbit grouping of telecoms satellites designed to provide communications services for remote areas of Russia.
According to previous reports, Russia will not be using Rokot carrier rockets after 2016.
The Rokot launch vehicle, developed by the state-run Khrunichev Center, is a modification of the RS-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) two-stage ballistic missile that is being decommissioned from Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces.
The first launch of Rokot took place on May 16, 2000 from the Plesetsk space center. Since then a total of 22 Rokot carrier rockets have been launched from that cosmodrome.