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Russia launches solar science satellite
Posted: Tue, Jul 31, 2001, 3:12 PM ET (1912 GMT)
A Ukrainian-built rocket launched a Russian spacecraft late Monday on a mission to study the Sun. The Tsiklon-3 booster lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia, at 4 pm EDT (2000 GMT) Monday, placing into low Earth orbit the Koronas-F spacecraft. From its 500-km orbit, inclined 82.5 degrees to the Equator, Koronas-F will observe the Sun at wavelengths ranging from radio waves to gamma rays, with an emphasis on studying flares and other intense solar activity. Launch of the spacecraft had been planned for late last week but was delayed when a problem with a gyroscope in the booster's third stage was discovered, according to the online publication RussianSpaceWeb.com. The launch was the first for the Ukrainian-built Tsiklon-3 since a December 2000 launch attempt that failed when the booster's third stage shut down prematurely.
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