On its fourth attempt, a Zenit-2 rocket successfully lifted off from the Baikonur launch site (Kazakhstan) at 05:42 a.m., Moscow time, and put a Russian Defense Ministry satellite into a calculated orbit.
The satellite is a Cosmos military satellite, an official spokesman for the Russian Space Forces told RIA Novosti Tuesday. Stable telemetric communication has been established and is being maintained with the satellite. According to Space Forces' main control center, the satellite's onboard systems are functioning normally.
The launch of the Zenit-2 rocket was postponed several times for technical reasons. Initially, the rocket was scheduled to lift off on April 25, but the launch was postponed for several hours because of malfunctions in the launch site's fuel supply system. The launch was then postponed for a day. However, on April 26, the launch did not occur because of a launch systems failure.
The Yuzhnoye Design Bureau in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine produced the Zenit-2, a medium-lift two-stage rocket. The rocket can carry up to 12 metric tons to a circular orbit and up to 3 metric tons to a high elliptical orbit.
Zenit's engines use non-toxic fuel components - kerosene and liquid oxygen. The fully automated pre-launch sequence ensures that a minimum amount of time is spent on preparations for the launch, that the personnel are safe and that the launch is not dependent on weather conditions.
The rocket was initially developed for the rapid deployment and replenishment of Russian satellite group and manned spaceships. After further development, the rocket's first stage was used as a booster for the Energia rocket carrier and successfully functioned in two launches.
The Zenit-2 was first launched on April 13, 1985. Presently, the rocket is periodically used to launch satellites for Russia and Ukraine.
In 2004, the Space Troops plan to launch a Zenit-2 and a Dnieper-1 rocket from Baikonur.