Russian rocket sends German spy satellite into orbit

Russian rocket sent a German reconnaissance satellite into orbit, a military spokesman said Tuesday - the latest good news for Russian efforts to garner a larger share of the lucrative international market for space launches.

The German SAR-Lupe-2 satellite went into orbit late Monday night around 30 minutes after the Kosmos-3M rocket blasted off from the Plesetsk launch pad in northern Russia, Space Forces spokesman Alexei Zolotukhin said.

A total of five satellites will ultimately comprise the SAR-Lupe system, which will be Germany's first satellite-based reconnaissance system, allowing high-resolution radar images night and day, according to German officials.

Russia has been aggressively trying to expand its presence in the international market for commercial and government satellite and space-industry launches, though its efforts have seen several high-profile failures.

Last week, a Russian military satellite and a private U.S.-built spacecraft were successfully sent into orbit aboard Russian rockets.

In addition to launch facilities in Plesetsk and Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Russia is working with the European Space Agency to expand a launch pad in French Guiana and increase the payloads Russian rockets will be able to carry.

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