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Russia puts 16 foreign satellites into orbit

Russia successfully launched a Dnepr rocket, the first since the failure in 2006.

world Updated: Apr 20, 2007 11:00 IST

Russia has successfully launched a Dnepr carrier rocket, the first since the failure in late July 2006, and put 16 foreign satellites successfully into orbit, the Federal Space Agency said on Tuesday.

"The launch has been conducted successfully," the agency said. "The separation of all foreign spacecraft from the carrier rocket occurred at 11.02 Moscow time (7.02 GMT)."

The rocket delivered an Egyptian EgyptSat spacecraft, six Saudi satellites (SaudiSat-3 and five SaudiComSat), and additional P-Pod and CubeSat micro-satellites into orbit.

"Control over all satellites has been passed to the customers," a space agency spokesman said.

Launches of Dnepr rockets from Baikonur were suspended following a crash shortly after lift off on July 26, 2006, due to a first stage engine shutdown.

The booster rocket, a civilian version of the heavy R-36M2 Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan) inter-continental ballistic missile, was carrying 18 Russian and foreign-made micro-satellites.