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Russian rocket launches German satellite

The Russian rocket carrying the German satellite lifts off. A DLR Photo

MOSCOW (BNS): A Russian carrier rocket successfully launched a German Earth observation satellite from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early on Monday.

The RS-20B rocket, a converted intercontinental ballistic missile, lifted off from the Baikonur space centre at 2:14 GMT on Monday. The rocket successfully placed Germany's TanDEM-X satellite into orbit, Russian space agency Roscosmos said.

The satellite, weighing over 1.3 tons and five metres long, will join the TerraSAR-X satellite, launched in 2007, to survey the entire land surface area of the Earth – a total of 150 million square kilometres – several times over.

The primary objective of the mission is to generate a consistent global digital elevation model with utmost accuracy.

Monday’s launch was the 16th launch of an international satellite under the Dnepr programme involving Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, which converts RS-20 ICBMs (NATO named SS-18 Satan) into carrier rockets to put satellites into low Earth orbit, the Russian space agency said.

Around 50 satellites have been put into orbit by the rocket so far.


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