MOSCOW, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Russia successfully sent a Cosmos- series military satellite into orbit on Thursday, spokesman of the Aerospace Defense Forces Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said.
According to Zolotukhin, the forces launched a Soyuz-U carrier rocket with the satellite Cosmos-2480 from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia and the satellite separated from the rocket at 18:13 Moscow time (1413 GMT).
"The launch was carried out to expand the cluster of Russia's military satellites in orbit," the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Zolotukhin said that Russia plans to replace all the Soyuz-U rockets by new generation of rockets, including Soyuz-2 and Angara-A3 medium-class carrier rockets.
"Today's launch of the medium-class Soyuz-U rocket from Plesetsk was the last for rockets of this type," Zolotukhin said, adding that the Soyuz-U has been in service for almost 40 years.
The first Soyuz-U rocket was launched from the Plesetsk space center on May 18, 1973. A total of 434 launches have been carried out, orbiting some 430 various satellites, Zolotukhin said.