Russia launches test rocket

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The Independent Online

Russia showed that it still has a future in space by launching a rocket today.

The Russsians sent a rocket designed to put payloads high above the earth's atmosphere in a rehearsal for the launch of a research satellite this summer, space officials said Tuesday.

A Soyuz booster equipped with a Fregat accelerator unit placed a mock-up Cluster II satellite into orbit after blasting off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakstan on Monday night.

Soyuz-Fregat is to carry four European Space Agency research satellites into orbit in June and July, according to a statement from Starsem, a Russian-European consortium that markets Soyuz launch services.