A Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket put a military satellite into its designated orbit Friday, a defense ministry spokesman, Col. Alexei Zolotukhin, told RIA Novosti.
The satellite separated from the rocket some ten minutes after the liftoff from the Plesetsk space center in northwestern Russia’s Arkhangelsk Region and reached the designated orbit at 3:45 p.m. Moscow time [12:45 GMT].
It was the first launch from Plesetsk this year. The previous Soyuz-2.1a launch from the northwestern Russian launch center took place on October 30, 2014.
Twenty Soyuz-2.1a, 1b and 1c type carrier rockets have been launched from Plesetsk since flight tests began there on November 8, 2004.
Soyuz-2 replaced the Soyuz-U carrier rocket, which was in commission at the Plesetsk space center from 1973 to 2012. During that period, nearly 430 multi-purpose space vehicles were sent into orbit out of a total 434 launches.
In September and October 2014, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Russian Armed Forces communications head Maj. Gen. Khalil Arslanov expressed confidence that nine military communications satellites would join the orbital group by 2020.