#9 - JRL 7211
Russia Launches Defense Satellite,Says Space Program Fine
June 5, 2003
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
MOSCOW (AP)--Russia has put a new military satellite into orbit, officials said Thursday.
The satellite was launched aboard a Kosmos-3M rocket that blasted off Wednesday from the northern Plesetsk Cosmodrome, the press service of the Russian Space Forces said Thursday. It reached its designated orbit on schedule, the press service said.
The Interfax news agency reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin's envoy to the northwestern district, Valentina Matviyenko, watched the launch. She called it proof that "rumors about our space program's collapse are obviously exaggerated," Interfax reported.
Modernization of Russia's satellite system has been hobbled by a lack of government funding. Russian Aerospace Agency chief Yuri Koptev said last year that about 80% of the nation's military and civilian satellites had already served their designated lifetime.