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Russia’s Dnepr rocket to orbit 33 satellites for 17 countries

June 19, 2014, 14:49 UTC+3 ORSK (Orenburg Region)
The carrier rocket will bring the first Russian private satellite TabletSat-Aurora into the near-Earth orbit for the first time
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© EPA/STEPHANE CORVAJA / ESA / HANDOUT

ORSK, June 19./ITAR-TASS/.A Russian Dnepr rocket converted from a Soviet-era Satan intercontinental ballistic missile will blast off from a launch site in the Volga area on Thursday night to orbit 33 satellites for 17 countries, including Russia, the international space company Kosmotras said.

The rocket will be launched from the Yasny space range of the Russian Strategic Missile Force in the Orenburg Region at 11:11 p.m. Moscow time (7:11 p.m. GMT), Kosmotras said.

The carrier rocket will for the first time bring the first Russian private satellite TabletSat-Aurora into the near-Earth orbit. The satellite weighing 25 kg was produced by the Russian company Sputnix.

The carrier rocket’s basic payload is a medium-resolution Earth observation satellite KazEOSat (Kazakhstan). The additional payloads include Deimos-2 (Spain), Hodoyoshi-3 and Hodoyoshi-4 (Japan), SaudiSat-4 (Saudi Arabia) and other small satellites weighing from 1 to 15 kg and produced in Italy, the USA, Uruguay, Canada, Brazil, Israel, Belgium, Singapore, Taiwan, Ukraine and Denmark.

The Dnepr conversion program was initiated in the 1990s by the presidents of Russia and Ukraine to convert the Soviet-era RS-20 ICBMs (Satan missiles under NATO classification) for civilian use. The Dnepr rocket is a three-stage liquid-propellant vehicle. Its takeoff weight is 210 tons.

The first Russian private satellite grouping is intended for sea and river navigation monitoring.

“The deployment of the first private satellite grouping in Russia is an important step in developing the domestic space industry and innovative business,” President of Dauria Space satellite manufacturer Mikhail Kokorich said.

“The launch of Perseus-O spacecrafts is scheduled for next year for commercial photographic surveying of the Earth’s surface,” he said.

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