14:18 GMT28 February 2021
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    MOSCOW, February 15 (Sputnik) - Russia is going to carry out more than 10 launches of Soyuz-2 carrier rockets from the Baikonur cosmodrome this year, Ruslan Mukhamedzhanov, the head of the Centre for the Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities, said on Monday.

    "Twelve launches will be carried out from this site [in 2021]. These are federal launches, and commercial launches [in the interests of UK communications company] OneWeb," Mukhamedzhanov said, as broadcast by Russian space agency Roscosmos on YouTube.

    The first launch was carried out earlier in the day, when the Soyuz-2.1, a carrier rocket, lifted off the Progress MS-16 cargo spacecraft, delivering food and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Baikonur's 31st site is specifically reserved for Soyuz-2 rockets.

    In January, a source in the space and rocket industry told Sputnik that from 15 to 17 space launches from Baikonur were planned for 2021. In particular, three Soyuz manned spaceships, three Progress cargo spaceships, two modules of the ISS, Ekspress-AMU3 and Ekspress-AMU7 telecommunications satellites, three groups of OneWeb spacecraft and the Arktika-M meteorological satellite are set to be placed into orbit.

    Baikonur is the world's first space launch site constructed by the Soviet Union in 1955. Russia is leasing the facility, which is located in Kazakhstan, until 2050.

    space launches, Russia, Baikonur cosmodrome
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