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Russia may launch upgraded Soyuz space rocket by 2012

04-22-2011 13:17 BJT

Russia planned to launch a light version of the Soyuz carrier rocket by 2012, commander of the Russian Space Forces Oleg Ostapenko said Thursday.

The Soyuz 2-1V launch vehicle is a two-stage medium class carrier rocket developed by the Progress design bureau, according to RIA Novosti news agency.

Ostapenko said the Space Forces would be ready to carry out the launch between the end of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012.

He said the rocket was ready for assembly at a plant in the town of Samara on the Volga River.

The new rocket is a modernized version of a Soyuz-2.1B, with the first stage equipped with a NK-33 engine that was developed initially in the 1970s for a manned flight to the Moon.

The rocket is capable of carrying a 2.85-ton payload to an orbit altitude of 200 kilometers.

The launch would be made from either Plesetsk Space Center in northern Russia or from Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

Editor:Sun Luying |Source: Xinhua

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