Russia folds up Soyuz-U launch programme



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.

IANS