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    Russia puts fifth German spy satellite into orbit

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    A Russian carrier rocket has successfully put into orbit a fifth German SAR-Lupe reconnaissance satellite, a Russian Space Forces spokesman said on Tuesday.

    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 on Tuesday.

    "A Cosmos 3M carrier rocket, launched at 06:40 Moscow time (02:40 GMT) from the Plesetsk space center 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 1 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 in 2006-2008, under a 2003 contract between Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport and German Cosmos International Satellitenstart Gmbh (a subsidiary of OHB Systems AG), which stipulated five SAR-Lupe launches until 2009.

    The Cosmos 3M is a liquid-fueled 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 (3,300 lbs) into low, medium, and high orbits.

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