Rokot Roars into Space on Next-to-last Flight

Rokot launch vehicle

A Rokot booster placed a Russian military satellite into orbit on Friday on its last mission for the Russian Ministry of Defence.

The booster lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia and successfully placed the Geo-IK-2 No.13 military mapping satellite into orbit.

“The Rokot rocket’s launch was the last one under the Defense Ministry’s program. Another one is due for Roscosmos. The rocket’s operation is over because there are plans for using an advanced type of this vehicle,” Major-General Nikolai Nestechuk told Tass.

Nestechuk did not specify what advanced booster will be used in Rokot’s place.

Rokots are an adaptation of retired SS-19 Stiletto intercontinental ballistic missiles. The booster has launched 33 times with 30 successes, two failures and one partial failure since 1990.

Rokot was formerly marketed as a commercial launcher by Eurockot Launch Services, a joint venture of Russia’s Khrunichev and ArianeGroup. However, that program ended as Russia decided to phase out the booster.

The Eurockot website says the company’s activities are “under redefinition. We will start accepting launch requests in the near future.”