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First launch of light Soyuz rocket a success
Posted: Sun, Dec 29, 2013, 12:41 PM ET (1741 GMT)
Soyuz-2.1v illustration (TsSKB Progress) A new version of Russia's Soyuz rocket, designed for smaller satellites, successfully launched three small spacecraft Saturday. The Soyuz-2.1v rocket lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia at 7:30 am EST (1230 GMT) Saturday, carrying a student-built 50-kilogram experimental satellite called Aist and two small radar calibration spheres for the Russian military. The launch had previously been planned for the beginning of the week, but was postponed because of technical problems. The Soyuz-2.1v, previously known as the Soyuz-1, uses an NK-33 engine in its first stage without any boosters, unlike other Soyuz variants. It is able to place up to 2,800 kilograms into low Earth orbit.
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