A Russian-made two-stage medium-weight satellite launcher called Zenit will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 8:19 p.m. Moscow time today. The launcher will send five satellites into orbit, the main of them being the 2.4-ton Meteor 3M, a Russian spacecraft with three years of life service designed for long-distance sounding of earth and water surface. Once in orbit, it is expected to conduct ecological monitoring of land and seas of the Russian Federation and locate mineral deposits. The other two Russian satellites, Kompas and Reflektor, are designed to forecast weather and survey satellites and cosmic "garbage," i.e. the spacecraft that have already exhausted their energy or technical resources. Of the remaining two satellites, one is Moroccan and the other Pakistani. The five satellites will be placed into orbit about 1,000 km away from the earth surface.
Forest fires in Siberia have been raging for three months already. They have become a disaster not only of Russian, but of global scale. The fires have already scorched 12 million hectares of land