Russian rocket sends German satellite into orbit

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

The Associated Press report said 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, the report said.

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, it added.

Last week, a Russian military satellite and a private US-built spacecraft were successfully sent into orbit aboard Russian rockets, the report said.

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, the report said.