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Trio of Russian Military Satellites Launched by Rockot

Russia sent three military communications satellites into orbit Tuesday aboard a converted ballistic missile launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, marking the first space launch of 2013.

The Rockot launch vehicle lifted off at 1625 GMT (11:25 a.m. EST), turning northeast from the Plesetsk launch base on a nearly two-hour mission to put three communications satellites in an orbit 900 miles above Earth.

Liftoff occurred at 8:25 p.m. Moscow time from Plesetsk, a military-run space center about 500 miles north of the Russian capital in Arkhangelsk oblast.

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