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ORBCOMM satellites launched
Posted: Thu, Jun 19, 2008, 2:29 PM ET (1829 GMT)
Kosmos 3M launch (ESA) A Kosmos rocket lifted off early Thursday and placed six replacement ORBCOMM satellites into orbit. The Kosmos-3M rocket launched at 2:36 am EDT (0636 GMT) from the Kapustin Yar cosmodrome in Russia and placed the six satellites into orbit at an altitude of 670 kilometers and an inclination of 48.5 degrees. Five of the six satellites are so-called "Quick Launch" satellites designed to replenish the existing constellation of ORBCOMM spacecraft, while the sixth is a technology demonstration satellite developed under a contract with the US Coast Guard. The satellites are the first launched for ORBCOMM since its original constellation of satellites, 29 of which are still operational, were launched in the mid-to-late 1990s; 18 additional replacement satellites were ordered by ORBCOMM in May for launch in 2010 and 2011. The satellites provide asset tracking and other low-data-rate communications services. In addition to the six ORBCOMM satellites, a small secondary payload built by a Russian university was also launched by the Kosmos.
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