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Two Soyuz launches from across Russia place multiple satellites in to orbit

Oct 15, 2017

Two different Soyuz rocket versions flew from launch sites at either end of Russia on 21 and 22 October. The first mission occurred at 1920 GMT, 21 October and saw a Soyuz 2-1v mission fly from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the North of Russia. The mission reportedly carried two Russian military spacecraft which were only identified by sequential Kosmos numbers 2561 and 2562. There is speculation among observers concerning these satellite’s missions with some suggesting military reconnaissance or observation of other in-orbit spacecraft.
The second mission utilised the Soyuz 2-1B variant and lifted-off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East. This flight took place at 1957 GMT, on 22 October and reportedly carried four payloads into orbit. Russian reports of the launch stated that three Gonets-M store/forward communications sats and a Skif-D internet constellation demonstration unit were launched. The three Gonets-M units have joined their compatriots in-orbit at 1,500 km, inclined at 82 degrees however, at the time of writing only these three satellites have been tracked by Stratcom in the USA. It is believed that the Skif-D satellite is destined for an over 8,000 km medium Earth orbit.

The Soyuz 2-1b lifts-off from Vostochny Cosmodrome. Courtesy of Roscosmos

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