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Russian Soyuz with European satellites to be launched from Kourou July 10

The overall cost of the project exceeds $1 billion

MOSCOW, July 08. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Soyuz-ST-B rocket with four European O3b communication satellites will be launched from the Kourou Space Center in French Guiana on July 10, the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday, July 8.

The overall cost of the project exceeds $1 billion. The first four O3b satellites were orbited in June 2013 as part of a program to build a cluster of up to 20 satellites which will provide high-speed Internet service in remote areas where optical fiber cables cannot be laid. The satellites will be built and launched for the company O3b Network, which was founded with the financial assistance of Google.

The name of the project “O3b Networks” is the short from “other 3 billion” and aims to bring Internet to the poorest nations in different parts of the world. It calls for putting satellites into an 8,000 km-high orbit. Unlike satellites working on higher orbits, these will transmit the signal with a smaller delay and cover an area stretching from Spain to South Africa, a large part of South America and Asia, and all islands in the South Pacific.

Soyuz-ST is a version of the Russian three-stage Soyuz-2 launch vehicle with a Fregat-MT booster and an ST cone adapted for launches from Kourou.