PLESETSK, September 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will launch a light-class Rokot carrier rocket early on Thursday following a nine-month suspension due to attempts to fix a glitch in the rocket’s booster, a Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman said Wednesday.
“The launch of a Rokot carrier rocket with three Gonets-M telecom satellites from the Plesetsk space center is scheduled for 3:23 a.m. Moscow time on Thursday [23:23 GMT Wednesday],” Col. Alexey Zolotukhin said.
All launches of Rokots were suspended in January after the rocket’s Briz-KM booster failed to deliver three military satellites into their designated orbits, resulting in the loss of one of the satellites.
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 an upper-stage block containing the Breeze-KM booster and space-bound 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.
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.
As of September 2013, the grouping consists of three Gonets-M and two Gonets-D1 satellites.