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    A Russian Meridian series military communications satellite has been put into a designated orbit.

    A Russian Meridian series military communications satellite has been put into a designated orbit, a spokesman for the Russian Space Forces said on Thursday.

    A Soyuz-2.1a rocket carrying the Meridian 4 satellite lifted off from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia at 09.41 pm Moscow time (17:41 GMT) on Wednesday.

    "A Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with a Fregat booster has successfully orbited a Meridian satellite," Lt. Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said.

    The official said that a communication link with the Meridian 4 had been established, and the satellite's on-board systems were operating without glitches.

    The Meridian 4 satellite is the fourth in a series of military communications satellites being launched by Russia to replace the ageing Molniya system.

    Russia has more than 100 satellites in orbit. Two-thirds of them are military or dual-purpose spacecraft.

    MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti)

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