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Russia launches rocket carrying meridian satellite

MOSCOW, Oct. 30 — Russia has launched a Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with a Meridian communications satellite from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia, the Defense Ministry's spokesperson told RIA Novosti Thursday.

The rocket was successfully launched at 4:43 a.m. Moscow time (01:43 GMT), Col. Alexei Zolotukhin, a spokesperson for Russia's Aerospace Defense Forces said, adding that the launch was completed in the usual mode.

This is the fourth time that a Soyuz-2 rocket was launched from the Plesetsk space center this year.

The Soyuz-2 three-stage carrier rocket is an upgraded version of the Soyuz rocket, which has been used in Russia's manned and unmanned space programs since the 1960s. Soyuz-2 can carry a payload of 7,800 kilograms into the Earth's orbit and 4,500 kilograms into higher orbits.

Soyuz-2.1a, a three-stage carrier rocket with a digital flight control system, was first launched in 2011. (PNA/RIA Novosti)

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