In 2002 twenty one launches of rockets carrying spacecraft will be made from the Russian cosmodrome Baikonur, or 30 percent more than last year, RIA Novosti was told at the Russian Aerospace Agency (Rosaviakosmos). Six launches of Soyuz carrier rockets will be related to the programme of building and service of the International Space Station. Ten heavy Proton rockets will be launched as commercial projects. In addition, three different classes of rockets will blast off as part of the federal space research programme and two launches of the Russian-Ukrainian Dnepr carrier rocket will be made. According to Rosaviakosmos specialists, last year Baikonur made only 16 launches. Nine of them within the federal programme of space exploration, five in the interests of the Defense Ministry and two commercial.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea