Plesetsk Cosmodrome Site 133
|Launch site||Plesetsk Cosmodrome|
|Operator||Russian Space Forces|
|First launch||16 March 1967|
|Last launch||8 September 2010|
|Associated rockets||Kosmos-2I 63SM
Site 133, also known as Raduga (Russian: Радуга meaning Rainbow), is a launch complex at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia. It is used by Rockot, and previously Kosmos carrier rockets. It consists of a single pad, originally designated 133/1, and later 133/3.
The first launch from Site 133 was of a Kosmos-2I, on 16 March 1967, carrying the Kosmos 148 satellite. Ninety Kosmos-2 launches were conducted, the last of which was on 18 June 1977, with Kosmos 919. It was later reactivated as Site 133/3, and supported 38 Kosmos-3M launches between 1985 and 1994.
During the late 1990s, Site 133/3 was rebuilt as a surface launch pad for Rockot, following the decision to use it for commercial launches. There were concerns that noise generated during a launch from Site 175 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, a silo-based complex, could cause vibrations that would damage the payload.
Rockots are wheeled up to the complex in a vertical position, and then the service tower is rolled around it. The payload is lifted by a crane and placed on top of the rocket. The procedure is in contrast to many other Russian and Soviet rockets, which had traditionally been assembled horizontally and then transferred to the launch site via railways. The first Rockot launch from Site 133 took place on 16 May 2000, orbiting the SimSat-1 DemoSat. As of 2009, eleven Rockots have been launched from the site.
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