Russia folds up Soyuz-U launch programme
Moscow: The launch of a Soyuz-U carrier rocket from the Russia's Plesetsk Space Center Thursday was the last in its 40-year history, said a spokesperson for country's Space Forces Friday.
The Soyuz-U orbited Thursday a Cosmos-series reconnaissance satellite to expand Russia's Oko (Eye) orbital missile early warning network, which consists of about 70 satellites.
"The launch on May 17 of a medium class Soyuz-U carrier rocket from Plesetsk was the last for this type of launch vehicles," said spokesperson Alexei Zolotukhin.
The first launch of a Soyuz-U was conducted from the Plesetsk Space Center May 18, 1973.
A total of 434 launches have been carried out, orbiting about 430 spacecraft.
"The Soyuz-U will be replaced by Soyuz-2 and Angara-A3 medium class carrier rockets," he added.
Thursday's launch was a step towards expanding the cluster of Russia's military satellites in the orbit.