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MOSCOW, December 18. /TASS/. Specialists have made a decision to launch the Strela carrier rocket with the Kondor-E satellite on Friday, December 19. The launch was initially planned from the Baikonur spaceport on Thursday morning, a source at Baikonur in Kazakhstan told TASS.
“The decision has been made to launch the Strela carrier rocket with the Kondor-E spacecraft on an auxiliary date — December 19, at 07:43am, Moscow time,” the source said.
Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) confirmed this information to TASS. “The launch will be carried out tomorrow at 07:43am, Moscow time,” a Roscosmos official said.
The launch of the Strela rocket with a dual purpose satellite, planned for 07:55am, Moscow time on Thursday has been postponed for technical reasons. Roscosmos said that the launch has been postponed until December 19. However, some media reported after that that the launch could be scheduled for even a later date.
The Strela launch vehicle, like the Rockot launcher, is a Russian orbital launch system capable of lifting light and medium payloads to low Earth orbits. It is based on the UR-100N (RS-18) Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, also known as SS-19 Stiletto. Strela is a two-stage liquid-fuelled launch vehicle that uses the SS-19 MIRV-bus to act as third stage (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle) to inject its payloads into the desired orbits. The Streal rocket was to be launched in the interests of a foreign customer from site No 175. Strela stands 29.2 meters tall (with its long payload fairing) and has a main diameter of 2.5 metres. The vehicle has a launch mass of 105,000 kg. Strela can deliver payloads of up to 1,700 kg into low Earth orbit and 1,100 kg into Sun synchronous orbit.
Kondor is a series of small civilian radar Earth observation satellites developed by NPO Mashinostroyeniya rocket design bureau for the Russian Defense Ministry and foreign customers. The first Kondor satellite was launched into orbit in summer 2013.