Russia launches spy satellite
BY STEPHEN CLARK
Posted: September 14, 2006
A secretive new satellite for the Russian defense ministry is now in orbit after successfully vaulting into space on Thursday aboard a Soyuz rocket.
Liftoff of the Soyuz rocket was at 1341 GMT (9:41 a.m. EDT) from pad 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in central Kazakhstan. It took about eight minutes for the launcher to deliver the payload into orbit, according to the Itar-Tass news agency.
The satellite was named Kosmos 2423 in the Russian defense ministry’s nomenclature for military spacecraft. However, experts believe the craft is a member of the Don family of photo reconnaissance satellites that can return film to Earth for recovery in small capsules.
The launch was the 7th of the year for the venerable Soyuz rocket family and the 39th space shot to successfully reach orbit so far in 2006.