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Russia may delay European satellite’s launch at ESA’s request

February 20, 14:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The launch of the Earth’s remote sensing satellite Sentinel-3b may be rescheduled for April 25

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© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. The launch of the Earth’s remote sensing satellite Sentinel-3b may be rescheduled for April 25 at the request of the European Space Agency (ESA), a source in the Russian space industry told TASS on Tuesday.

"The Europeans are failing for some reason to deliver on time the space vehicle to the Plesetsk spaceport, from which a Rokot carrier rocket with the Sentinel-3b satellite is due to blast off. That is why, the ESA has requested rescheduling the launch for a later date. So far, April 25 is under consideration," the source said.

The relevant request has been sent to the Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos, which is expected to make a decision on rescheduling the launch. Roscosmos has not given any comment on this information.

Russia’s Khrunichev Space Center, which produces Rokot carrier rockets, earlier reported that the launch was scheduled for the first quarter of 2018.

The previous launch of a Rokot carrier rocket was successfully carried out from the Plesetsk cosmodrome on October 13, 2017. The rocket delivered the European Earth’s remote sensing satellite Sentinel-5p into orbit.

The light carrier rocket Rokot has been developed as part of Russia’s program to convert military products into civilian output and is based on the RS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile being decommissioned in Russia. The first launch took place in 2000.

The Rokot has been developed by the Khrunichev Space Center while its control system uses the technology of the Ukrainian enterprise Khartron. Russia’s Defense Ministry announced earlier it was giving up Rokot carriers in favor of the Russian light launchers Angara-1.2 and Soyuz-2.1v as part of the efforts to cut dependence on imports.

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