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Russian rocket sends German spy satellite into orbit

Russian rocket sent a German reconnaissance satellite into orbit, a military spokesman said Tuesday - the latest good news for Russian efforts to garner a larger share of the lucrative international market for space launches.

The German SAR-Lupe-2 satellite went into orbit late Monday night around 30 minutes after the Kosmos-3M rocket blasted off from the Plesetsk launch pad in northern Russia, Space Forces spokesman Alexei Zolotukhin said.

A total of five satellites will ultimately comprise the SAR-Lupe system, which will be Germany's first satellite-based reconnaissance system, allowing high-resolution radar images night and day, according to German officials.

Russia has been aggressively trying to expand its presence in the international market for commercial and government satellite and space-industry launches, though its efforts have seen several high-profile failures.

Last week, a Russian military satellite and a private U.S.-built spacecraft were successfully sent into orbit aboard Russian rockets.

In addition to launch facilities in Plesetsk and Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Russia is working with the European Space Agency to expand a launch pad in French Guiana and increase the payloads Russian rockets will be able to carry.

When the bill was submitted to Congress on August 2, the reason for imposing the new sanctions on Russia was based on Russia's alleged interference in the US presidential election in 2016, but then something clicked

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