Classified Russian spacecraft launched into Earth orbit
BY STEPHEN CLARK
Posted: November 15, 2008
Russia launched a top secret military satellite Friday in an unannounced flight from the country's northern space base, according to news reports.
A Soyuz rocket blasted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome at 1550 GMT (10:50 a.m. EST) Friday. The launcher released the classified satellite payload about nine minutes later.
Russian officials did not provide details of the spacecraft's mission, but the satellite is likely a Kobalt spy satellite with retrievable film canisters that return to Earth.
The satellite was delivered to an orbit with a high point of about 200 miles and a low point of about 110 miles. The orbit's inclination is about 67.2 degrees, according to U.S. tracking data.
Russia is calling the satellite Kosmos 2445 under the military's naming system for defense spacecraft.
Friday's flight was the 58th space launch to reach orbit so far this year. It was the 8th Soyuz rocket launch in 2008.