February 28, 2009

Russian satellite in orbit after launch

A Russian military satellite is now in orbit above the Earth after being launched with a Proton-K heavy carrier rocket Saturday, an official says.

A Space Forces spokesman, Lt. Col. Alexei Zolotukhin, said the satellite successfully separated from the Russian rocket after being launched from the Baikonur space center, RIA Novosti reported.

The separation of the satellite from the upper stage took place in a normal mode, Zolotukhin said.

The Baikonur center, located in the central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan, is one of two sites Russia uses to launch rockets and test-fire ballistic missiles. RIA Novosti said the other site is northwest Russia's Plesetsk space center.

Saturday's launch marked the most recent use of the Proton-K heavy carrier rocket, which was first used in 1968.