Kosmos-3M launches final SAR-Lupe satellite

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008


A Kosmos-3M carrier rocket has successfully launched the SAR-Lupe 5 satellite, the fifth and final member of the German SAR-Lupe surveillance satellite system. The rocket lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia at 02:20 GMT this morning. The SAR-Lupe system uses Synthetic Aperture radar (SAR) to detect objects on the ground, even when it is too dark or cloudy for optical reconnaissance.

The SAR-Lupe system consists of five satellites, which have been launched over the last two years. The first satellite was launched in mid-December 2006, and was followed by two more in 2007, in early July and November. The fourth satellite was launched in late March 2008. The system will be operated by the German military for at least ten years. Data will also be provided to the French military, in exchange for data from French reconnaissance satellites being provided to Germany.

This is the 36th orbital launch of 2008, the third of which to have been conducted by a Kosmos-3M. Overall, this is the 444th launch of a Kosmos-3M rocket. The next Kosmos launch is expected to occur later this year, with a Parus navigation satellite, although it is currently unclear exactly when this launch will occur.