Jun. 27, 2013 by Zach Rosenberg – FG
Washington DC - A Strela launch vehicle launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on 27 June, carrying a Russian satellite.
According to Russian news reports, the Strela launched successfully, bringing a military radar satellite called Kondor-E1 to orbit. The Russian military has not yet confirmed success, but the US military reports an object in orbit as a result of the launch.
The launch marks only the second for the Strela launch vehicle. The first took place in 2003, successfully carrying a simulated payload into orbit. Three additional Strela launches remain on the books but have been indefinitely delayed due to financial difficulties, according to Flightglobal Ascend's database, but launch dates are uncertain.
Strela is a two-stage system converted from the SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missile. An unrelated company, Eurockot, also converts SS-19s into launch vehicles, but includes a third stage. Eurockot has been more successful on the sales side, with 18 launches or launch attempts to date.