ROCKOT Fills Iridium Constellation
The Rockot launch vehicle successfully performed the Iridium IS-2 surgical replacement mission from its launch facilities at Plesetsk Cosmodrome on 20 June 2002. Rockot injected two Iridium replacement satellites into an orbit of 650 km altitude to support the operations and maintenance phase of the IRIDIUM constellation. The IRIDIUM constellation is the satellite-based personal voice/data communication system available world-wide. It comprises 66 active satellites plus additional in-orbit spares.
The IRIDIUM mission was the second commercial launch of Rockot from Plesetsk in 2002 after the successful launch of the two GRACE spacecraft on 17 March 2002 for the German Aerospace Centre DLR and NASA.