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Russia Expands Commercial Space Presence With Latest Soyuz Launch

A Soyuz 2.1b carrier rocket has successfully launched a next-generation Russian meteorological satellite and six smaller satellites, the Federal Space Agency, or Roscosmos, said in an online statement.

Roscosmos said that the Meteor-M meteorological satellite has a lifespan of five years and is intended to provide timely meteorological data, ozone monitoring, and collect information on ocean conditions, "including ice conditions for the purpose of navigation in polar areas."

Among the smaller satellites launched on Tuesday night was the DX1 maritime monitoring satellite, built by Russia's first commercial satellite company, Dauria Aerospace. Last month, Dauria's first micro-satellites, called Perseus-M, were launched, laying the foundation of the maritime monitoring and tracking system that DX1 now completes.

Dauria has confirmed that the satellite is online, and information is being transmitted to the company's mission control center in the Skolkovo technology park in the Moscow region.

The company will use the satellite to provide commercial maritime navigation and tracking services. This is the first Russian satellite compatible with the Automatic Identification System — an international system for tracking ships on oceans and rivers.

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