Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

Russians launch new reconnaissance satellite
Posted: Feb. 3, 2000

File photo of a Zenit rocket. Photo: Globalstar
A Zenit 2 rocket launched a classified Russian military spy satellite today from Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The intermediate-class booster lifted off at 0926 GMT (4:26 a.m. EST) carrying the Cosmos 2369 spacecraft.

Less than 20 minutes later, the satellite was released into a near-circular orbit between 850 and 880 kilometers high, news reports said. The orbital inclination is 71 degrees with a period of 101.7 minutes.

The launch was delayed one day due to power problems at the launch site.

The Ukrainian-built Zenit rockets have had a trouble in the past included several failures. One included the costly September 1998 mishap that destroyed a dozen satellites intended for the space-based Globalstar cellular telephone system.

Today's launch is the second for Russia this month. Just two days ago a Soyuz-U rocket launched a Progress resupply ship to the space station Mir, docking successfully about 90 minutes before the Zenit fired away from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the remote steppes of Kazakhstan.

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