A Cosmos-3-M launch vehicle inserted a military satellite into a preset orbit at 10.50 p.m. Moscow time July 22. However, confirmation wasn't received before 11.40 p.m. Moscow time because that spacecraft had left the radio-visibility zone. This was disclosed here the other day by a spokesman for the Russian Space Force.
The rocket blasted off from the Plesetsk space center's No. 132 launch site (launch pad No. 1) at 9.46 p.m. Moscow time. This is the first Cosmos-3-M rocket, as well as the fifth Cosmos satellite, to lift off this year, the spokesman went on to say. (The Plesetsk test space center is located in the Arkhangelsk region, northern Russia)
This spacecraft will beef up Russia's military-satellite cluster.
The Cosmos-3-M two-stage light-weight launch vehicle is designed to place satellites into low, medium and high orbits. The Polet production association assembles such rockets. Each Cosmos-M-3 rocket, which has a lift-off mass of 109 tons, orbits 1,500-kg payloads. The first such rocket had lifted off in 1967, with the Soviets adopting it in 1971.