The Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region, northern Russia, has begun preparations for the launch of a Rokot carrier rocket. It will be the first blast-off in 2003.
Rokot will put into orbit nine satellites owned by four states, the RIA Novosti correspondent quotes a spokesman of the Russian Space Troops as saying on Friday.
Among them is the Canadian craft Most, Czech Mimoza, Russian Monitor-E and 6 small Japanese craft, said the Space Troops spokesman.
"Now specialists from the four countries have begun checking work of their craft systems in the assembling-testing block of the cosmodrome." The tentative commercial launch date of the Rokot is June 30.