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Dnepr rocket successfully delivers 23 foreign satellites to orbit

November 21, 2013, 16:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Dnepr program is used to eliminate intercontinental ballistic missiles and utilize them for space launches
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© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Kazak

MOSCOW, November 21. /ITAR-TASS/. The heavy Dnepr rocket, a converted ICBM, has placed 23 small foreign-commissioned spacecraft in near Earth orbit, Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

“At 11:26 Moscow time (07:26 GMT) today the Dnepr rocket successfully placed into orbit 23 satellites,” it said.

“The RS-20B rocket was launched from the Yasny cosmodrome at 11:10 Moscow time (07:10 GMT). The separation of the rocket’s first and second stages took place at 11:12 Moscow time (07:12 GMT) over Kazakhstan, the second stage separated at 11:15 (07:15 GMT) over the Indian Ocean,” the space agency specified.

“The placement of the spacecraft into orbit began at 11:25 MSK (07:25 GMT) and was completed at 11:26 MSK (07:26 GMT). Thus, all the satellites were orbited within one minute,” it added.

The first to separate from the Dnepr rocket was the U.S. SKYSAT-1 satellite, then separated the main payload - DubaiSat-2 (UAE), after that - STSAT-3 (South Korea), UniSat-5 (Italy), AprizeSat-7 and AprizeSat-8 (USA). Then the ISIPOD containers’ covers opened for the separation of 14 CubeSat nano-satellites (The Netherlands). The GOMX-1, WNISat and BRITE-PL satellites (University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, Canada) were orbited at 11:26 MSK.

The mass of the Emirates satellite DubaiSat-2 is about 200 kg, and the other satellites vary in mass from 10 to 150 kg.

DubaiSat-2 was placed into an orbit at an altitude of 600 km, and the rest satellites will take orbital positions at altitudes varying from 600 km to 900 km.

The DubaiSat-2 satellite was built on the order of the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) on the basis of the DubaiSat-1 satellite that had been launched in 2009. DubaiSat-2 has a number of technical innovations: higher data transmission speed, high- resolution image, similar to Google Earth, as well as a state-of-the-art camera with sensors.

The American SKYSAT-1 satellite is the first spacecraft of an innovative constellation of Earth remote sensing mini-satellites, which will make high-resolution satellite images of any area several times a day. Its customer is Korea Aerospace Research Institute.

Dnepr is a Russian-Ukrainian carrier rocket. It was created on the basis of the RS-20 intercontinental ballistic missile (NATO reporting name - SS-18 “Satan”). The Dnepr program envisages the conversion of more than 150 missiles RS-20 into carrier rockets. One of the converted rocket’s launches of the total 17 ended in failure - on July 26, 2006.

The Dnepr program provides for the elimination of intercontinental ballistic missiles. At the end of their life cycle the missiles of this type are used to launch payloads into space.

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