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Last launch of Rokot rocket may be put off until early 2018 — manufacturer

During the last Rokot launch, the Sentinel-3B satellite is to be orbited for the European Space Agency

MOSCOW, April 5. /TASS/. The last launch of the Russian-Ukrainian Rokot rocket, to take Europe’s Sentinel-3B observation satellite into orbit, may be rescheduled for late 2017 or early 2018, the head of the rocket’s manufacturer said in an interview with the Kommersant business daily Wednesday.

"The last launch will be a commercial one: we will launch the Sentinel-3B satellite for the European Space Agency. It is tentatively scheduled for late 2017 or the first quarter of 2018," Khrunichev Center chief Andrei Kalinovsky said.

Manufactured by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Center, Rokot is a derivative of the RS-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) intercontinental ballistic missile. After the end of the Cold War the missiles were re-purposed to serve as space launch vehicles.

The first Rokot carrier rocket blasted off from the Plesetsk spaceport on May 16, 2000. As many as 30 launches have taken place since.