Source Pravda.Ru

Pre-launch preparations begin at Plesetsk cosmodrome

Preparations for two launches have begun at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region of Northern Russia.

The press service of the Russian Space Force reported on Friday that "the light carrier rocket Kosmos-3M is being prepared for launching slated for September 26, 2002. It will put into orbit a spacecraft of the Kosmos series in the interests of the Russian Defense Ministry." On Friday Plesetsk combat crews, together with specialists from the Industrial Association Polyot, "are checking the carrier rocket's control systems and preparing its on-board batteries for work", said the press service.

Simultaneously, Plesetsk specialists, together with CSKB-Progress engineers and technicians, are readying a medium Soyuz-U carrier rocket tipped with the Foton-M spacecraft. The blast-off is scheduled for October 15, reports the Space Forces.

"The Foton craft has been manufactured at the CSKB-Progress in Samara on order from the Russian Space Agency (Rosaviakosmos) and the European Space Agency. Foton will develop space technologies, produce semiconductors and optical glass, carry out general biological research in conditions of microgravitation", reports the space service. Its orbital work will be done in the interest of the European and Russian space agencies, said the Space Forces.