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MOSCOW, January 14 (Itar-Tass) – Russia’s Aerospace Defence Troops (VKO) will start a new space year on Tuesday, January 15, by launching a Rokot carrier rocket with three dual-purpose Kosmos satellites aboard at the Plesetsk spaceport.
“The decision to fuel the Rokot carrier rocket was made at a meeting of the State Commission held at Plesetsk. In accordance with the process schedule, the Rokot carrier rocket was taken to the launching site on January 9,” VKO spokesperson, Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin told Itar-Tass on Monday, January 14.
“After the fuelling has been completed and final operations carried out, a meeting of the State Commission will be held to make the final decision on the launch of the Rokot carrier rocket,” he said.
“This will be the first space rocket to be launched by the Aerospace Defence Troops from Plesetsk in 2013,” the spokesperson added.
Initially, the launch was scheduled for December 8, 2012, but was postponed because of defects in the Briz-KM booster made by Khrunichev.
The light carrier rocket Rokot is a conversed version of the RS-18 ballistic missile. Its first launch from Plesetsk took place on May 16, 2000. Sixteen Rokots have been launched at this northern spaceport since then.
The Rokot conversion carrier rocket was built at the Khrunichev Centre on the basis of the RC-18 intercontinental ballistic missile (the CC-19 Stiletto, according to the Western classification). The first launch of the carrier rocket took place on November 20, 1990, off a silo at the Baikonur cosmodrome by the ballistic trajectory. Rokot rockets have been launched off the Plesetsk cosmodrome since the year 2000.
The starting mass of the carrier rocket is 107 tonnes, the length is 28 metres and the diameter is 2.5 metres. The engines of all the stages of the rocket use highly toxic fuel components.