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Soyuz rocket launch from Plesetsk spaceport delayed over additional checks

A fault was found in a similar carrier at the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, a source in Russia’s Defense Ministry told TASS

MOSCOW, November 23. /TASS/. The launch of three Gonets-M communications satellites from the Plesetsk cosmodrome has been delayed over an additional check of a Soyuz-2 rocket after a fault was found in a similar carrier at the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, a source in Russia’s Defense Ministry told TASS on Monday.

"In the wake of technical faults detected by Roscosmos specialists in a similar rocket during the preparations for a launch from the Guiana Space Center, the state commission has made a decision to hold additional checks of the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket’s readiness for the launch," the source said.

A combat team of the Russian Defense Ministry at the Plesetsk spaceport is now checking the rocket’s systems and assemblies at the assembly and testing building. In case of a fault, it will be eliminated. The date of the launch will be determined by the state commission following the results of the checks, the source said.

A source in the domestic space industry told TASS earlier on Monday that the launch of three Gonets-M satellites atop a Soyuz-2 carrier rocket had been tentatively rescheduled from November 24 to December 3 over technical problems with the rocket.

Preparations are currently underway at the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana for the launch of a Soyuz-ST-A carrier rocker to orbit a UAE Falcon Eye 2 satellite. The launch is scheduled for November 29.

The Gonets is Russia’s sole low-orbit satellite communications system designed for the global exchange of various types of information with mobile and stationary facilities, and for organizing re-broadcasting channels for various purposes. The system allows transmitting Glonass coordinate data from a mobile post to remote monitoring and communications centers, irrespective of a subscriber’s location.

The Gonets next-generation satellite system will offer communications, including telephone services, in hard-to-access places, including the Arctic, and provide infrastructure for the Internet of things. In the future, it will allow transmitting data online from any objects, including mobile. The orbital grouping is expected to comprise 28 satellites in low near-Earth orbit.

A Soyuz-2 medium three-stage carrier rocket delivers satellites into near-Earth orbits of various altitudes. The first launch of a Soyuz-2 rocket took place from the Plesetsk spaceport in November 2004.