Moscow, Russia: A Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday carrying 38 foreign satellites after takeoff was twice postponed due to technical issues, Russian space agency Roscosmos said.
Video published by Roscosmos showed the Soyuz blaster launching against grey and cloudy skies at 0607 GMT. “The Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Fregat upper stage and 38 spacecraft from 18 countries took off from the Baikonur cosmodrome,” Roscosmos said on its Twitter account.
The rocket will place in orbit 38 satellites from more than a dozen countries, including South Korea, Japan, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Italy and Brazil.
Among them is the Challenge-1, the first satellite made completely in Tunisia, which was created by the Telnet telecommunications group.
The launch was twice postponed from Saturday after a surge in voltage was detected. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian space sector has lagged behind international competitors, plagued by corruption scandals and technological stagnation. In 2018, a Soyuz rocket carrying a Russian cosmonaut and a NASA astronaut failed mid-flight, forcing the crew to carry out an emergency landing. Both survived without injuries.