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Dnepr rocket with Japanese satellites to be launched in early October

ZHUKOVSKY, August 13, /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian-Ukrainian conversion rocket Dnepr (RS-20) with Japanese satellites will be launched in the Orenburg region, southern Urals, in early October, a source in the Russian Military Industrial Commission said on Wednesday.

“The launch is scheduled for the beginning of October. There have been no cancellations so far,” he told ITAR-TASS when asked whether the plans had not been affected by Japanese sanctions against Russia.

The rocket will orbit five Japanese satellites, including four micro ones. “The satellites will be brought to Russia on August 20,” the source said, adding that this year’s third Dnepr launch was scheduled for December.

The previous launch took place at the Yasny spaceport outside Orenburg in June to orbit Russia’s first private remote sensing satellite TabletSat-Aurora and 32 foreign microsatellites belonging to customers from 17 countries, including Russia.

TabletSat-Aurura owned by the company SPUTNIX weighs 26.2 kg and is made to operate for one year. It is intended for remote Earth sensing in the interests of a private company. The satellite was made using Russian technologies and a minimum of foreign components. Its cost is about one million U.S. dollars.

Dnepr also orbited 32 other satellites. The primary payload of this launch was a medium resolution satellite KazEOSat (Kazakhstan), weighing 177 kg and intended for broadband multispectral surveying of the Earth with a resolution of 6.75 metres in the interests of agriculture and land-use management as well as for monitoring mineral resources and natural calamities.

In addition to that, the payloads on this launch were Deimos-2 (Spain), Hodoyoshi-3 and -4 (Japan), SaudiSat-4 (Saudi Arabia) and other small satellites, as well as QuadPack deployers with CubeSats.

The Dnepr rocket conversion programme was initiated in the 1990s by the presidents of Russia and Ukraine to convert RS-20 Voyevoda ICBMs (Satan by NATO classification) for civilian uses.

Dnepr rockets are launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, and the Yasny Launch Site of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces in the Orenburg region under a joint project commenced by Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

The Dnepr rocket is a three-stage liquid-engine vehicle. Its takeoff mass is 210 tones. The first two stages are the regular stages of the RS-20 rocket and have not been changed. The third stage has been worked on to improve its flight control system.

The rocket is injected from an RS-20 silo by propellant gases. Its engine turns on after the whole vehicle has come out of the silo. The rocket is made by the Ukrainian company Yuzhmash in Dnepropetrovsk.