Russia launches 11 space satellites ‘without glitch’
The country’s first orbital launch of 2018 came after a similar liftoff from the cosmodrome in eastern Russia ended in embarrassment, with officials losing contact with a string of satellites last November.
Lifting off as scheduled earlier on Feb. 1, the Soyuz rocket carried two Russian Earth monitoring satellites as its primary payload and nine U.S. and German piggyback satellites.
During its mission the Fregat upper-stage rocket performed a complex sequence, forming several orbits for the delivery of the satellites, the Roscosmos space agency said.
“In accordance with the flight programme, the Fregat upper-stage placed into orbit space vehicles of main and secondary payloads,” the space agency said in a statement.
Both the Soyuz rocket and the upper stage “performed without a glitch,” the statement added.
Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister in charge of space, said contact with Russia’s Kanopus-V earth monitoring satellites had been established.
“Thank you everyone,” the official tweeted.The second liftoff from the Vostochny cosmodrome ended in failure last November when Russian officials lost contact with a weather satellite hours after its launch.