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South Korean satellite launched by Dnepr rocket

26 March 2015

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A stockpiled Soviet-era ballistic missile shot out of an underground silo on a remote Russian military base Wednesday and powered into orbit with a South Korean Earth observation satellite.

South Korea's KOMPSAT-3A imaging satellite rode the 111-foot-tall Dnepr launcher on a 15-minute journey into space after liftoff at 2208:46 GMT (6:08:46 p.m. EDT) from Dombarovsky military base near Yasny, Russia, a small community in the Orenburg region about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) southeast of Moscow.

Converted from a wartime weapon into a peacetime commercial launch vehicle, the Dnepr rocket is based on the R-36M originally developed in Ukraine. The missile's Western designation is the SS-18 "Satan."

The three-stage rocket was programmed to boost the KOMPSAT-3A satellite into a 328-mile-high (528-kilometre) orbit. U.S. military tracking data indicate the spacecraft reached an orbit near the predicted altitude tilted at an angle of 97.5 degrees to the equator.

Source: Spaceflight Now

Image credit: KARI - Artist's concept of KOMPSAT-3A

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