Cosmos rocket is back

Posted: June 8, 2001; Updated: June 9, 2001

A Russian Cosmos-3M rocket was successfully launched on Friday, marking the booster's return-to-flight after a failure last November.

The rocket delivered a military satellite -- called Cosmos-2378 -- into orbit in a mission that began at 1612 GMT (12:12 p.m. EDT) from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

The parameters of the satellite's orbit are 1,023 by 981 kilometers with an inclination of 82.9 degrees to the equator. Such an orbit suggests that the satellite belongs to the Tsyklon-B navigation and communications network, comprised of the Parus ("Sail") spacecraft.

Russia's missile-carrying submarines and surface battleships use the Parus spacecraft to determine their exact location in the open sea -- the information critical for the high-precision warfare.

A second stage failure was blamed in the December mishap that lost the U.S. QuickBird Earth-imaging satellite. Friday's launch was 402nd for the Cosmos-3M, which entered service in 1967.

Reports said Friday's launch had been delayed since April 27 because of problems with the control systems of the second stage steering engines.