Kosmos-3M rocket launches six Orbcomm satellites

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Kosmos-3M rocket

Six Orbcomm satellites have been launched by a Russian Kosmos-3M carrier rocket. Lift-off, from Site 107 at the Kapustin Yar launch site in South-West Russia, occurred at 06:36:28 GMT. This is the first orbital launch to occur from Kapustin Yar since April 1999.

Orbcomm is an American company which operates a constellation of communications satellites in low Earth orbit. The satellites launched today were five Quick Launch satellites, and a technology demonstration spacecraft which will be operated in conjunction with the United States Coastguard. A seventh satellite, Ufa State University's UGATUSAT nanosatellite, was originally scheduled to be launched, but was moved to a later launch aboard a Soyuz-2 rocket for unknown reasons. The launch was conducted by COSMOS International, a Russo-German organisation, and Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces.

This is the 31th orbital launch of 2008, and the second of which to have been conducted by a Kosmos-3M rocket. The next Kosmos-3M launch is currently scheduled for the end of July, when the SAR-Lupe 5 satellite will be placed into orbit.