Source Pravda.Ru

Zenit rocket launch delayed once again

A Zenit rocket which was to orbit a military satellite didn't lift off once again for technical problems. This was disclosed to RIA Novosti here today by the national Space Force's officials.

The Zenit rocket, which was to have lifted off April 26 at 2.47 a.m. Moscow time, is to soar aloft 12 hours later, that is, at 2.42 p.m. Moscow time.

This Zenit-2 rocket was to have orbited a Cosmos military satellite.

The two-stage and medium-size Zenit-2 launch vehicle was developed at the Dnepropetrovsk-based Yuzhnoye (Southern) design bureau, which also assembles such rockets. Each Zenit-2 can orbit spacecraft with a mass of up to 12 tons, also inserting up to 3.5-ton satellites into highly elliptical orbits.

Zenit-rocket engines feature non-toxic fuel components, i.e. kerosene and liquid oxygen. Fully automated pre-launch preparations minimize launch deadlines, also ensuring complete personnel safety; moreover, such rockets can lift off in just about any weather conditions.

This rocket was developed from the very outset as a launch vehicle for quickly deploying and beefing up the Russian military-satellite cluster, as well as for orbiting manned spacecraft.

The rocket's revamped first-stage units were used as the Energia rocket's strap-on boosters, performing successfully during two Energia launches.

The first-ever Zenit-2 rocket lifted off April 13, 1985. Right now, such launch vehicles are being used time and again to orbit satellites in line with Russian and Ukrainian state orders.

The Russian Space Force intends to launch two Zenit-2 and Dnieper-1 rockets from Kazakhstan's Baikonur space center throughout the entire 2004 period. Moreover, plans are in place to launch yet another Cyclone-3 rocket from northern Russian's Plesetsk space center; that rocket is to orbit a Ukrainian-made Sich-1-M remote-sensing satellite.

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