Space: October 17, 2004

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On September 22nd, Russia used a Cosmos-3M launcher to lift two military satellites into orbit. The Cosmos-3M is one of the workhorses of the Soviet, and now Russian, space program. The Cosmos-3M uses half century old technology and runs on a fuel mixture of nitric acid and hydrazine. The missile is 90 feet tall, six feet in diameter and weighs 109 tons at liftoff. Up to 1.5 tons can be put into low (400 kilometers) orbit. The Cosmos-3M has been used over 750 times since the 1960s, and has a 98 percent success rate. United States firms have increasingly entrusted their satellite launches to this old, but reliable, technology from Russia.