The Russian military launched a classified payload April 27 that is believed to be a part of the veteran navigation network.
A Cosmos-3M rocket lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia at 5:05 a.m. local time. Russian Space Forces spokesman Aleksei Zolotukhin told the official ITAR-TASS news agency that a military satellite successfully reached its target orbit at 6:41 a.m. and established contact with ground control.
The spacecraft was officially identified only as Cosmos-2463 — a standard Russian nomenclature for classified payloads. Russia’s choice of launch vehicle and the spacecraft’s near-polar, slightly elliptical orbit, however, suggest the spacecraft is a Parus navigation and communications satellite that will join the venerable Tsiklon-B constellation Russian naval forces and ballistic missile submarines have used since the mid-1970s.
Prior to the launch, Russian Space Forces Commander Oleg Ostapenko said the April 27 launch would be one of the final three missions for the veteran Cosmos-3M rocket, which will cease production. The liquid-fueled two-stage rocket has launched more than 400 times since its 1967 debut.