MOSCOW, February 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has
successfully launched a Proton-K heavy carrier rocket with a
military satellite from the Baikonur space center in
Kazakhstan, a Space Forces spokesman said Saturday.
"The launch of the carrier rocket was conducted in a
normal mode," Lt.-Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said.
The Proton-K carrier rocket was developed on the basis of
the UR-500 intercontinental ballistic missile by the Salyut
design bureau making part of Russia's Khrunichev State Research
and Production Center. The rocket was first launched in 1968.
There have been several thousand launches of the rocket
since it was adopted. There are plans to use the rocket to
deliver International Space Station modules to the near-earth
Russia currently uses two launch sites for space carrier
rockets and ballistic missiles tests: the Baikonur space center
in the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan, which it has
leased since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the Plesetsk
space center in northwest Russia.