Plesetsk begins Rokot pre-launch preparations

The Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region, northern Russia, has begun preparations for the launch of a Rokot carrier rocket. It will be the first blast-off in 2003.

Rokot will put into orbit nine satellites owned by four states, the RIA Novosti correspondent quotes a spokesman of the Russian Space Troops as saying on Friday.

Among them is the Canadian craft Most, Czech Mimoza, Russian Monitor-E and 6 small Japanese craft, said the Space Troops spokesman.

"Now specialists from the four countries have begun checking work of their craft systems in the assembling-testing block of the cosmodrome." The tentative commercial launch date of the Rokot is June 30.

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