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Soyuz 2 test launch a success
Posted: Tue, Nov 9, 2004, 7:58 AM ET (1258 GMT)
Soyuz launch (Energia file photo) The first launch of the upgraded version of Russia's Soyuz rocket has been declared a success by Russian officials. The Soyuz 2-1a lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia at 1:30 pm EST (1830 GMT, 9:30 pm Moscow time) Monday, carrying a test satellite, Oblik. There were conflicting reports whether Oblik was actually placed in orbit, but Russian reports Tuesday indicated that the spacecraft reentered over the Pacific Ocean eight minutes after liftoff, as planned. The Soyuz 2 features a number of improvements over the existing booster, including a new digital control system, although planned improvements such as an enhanced third-stage engine and enlarged payload fairing will not be incorporated until the Soyuz 2-1b version, scheduled for launch in mid-2006.
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