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Russia to launch 3 Japanese satellites from Baikonur spaceport in 2020

The first micro-satellite GRUS (GRUS-1A) is due to be launched on December 27, 2018

MOSCOW, March 12. /TASS/. Two micro-satellites GRUS-1B and GRUS-1C produced by Axelspace (Japan) and a satellite of the Fukui prefecture will be launched aboard a Russian Soyuz-2 carrier rocket from the Baikonur spaceport in 2020 and delivered into the 600 km heliosynchronous orbit, Glavkosmos Launch Services operator said on Tuesday.

"After the launch of the first micro-satellite GRUS (GRUS-1A) on December 27, 2018, the corporation Axelspace has decided to launch two more satellites of the same type (GRUS-1B and GRUS-1C). In addition to that, Axelspace and the Fukui Satellite Technology and Research Association (FSTRA) cooperating in the development of a satellite of the prefecture of Fukui will launch this space vehicle within one launch mission together with the satellites GRUS-1B and GRUS-1C," the launch operator said in a statement.

The three satellites will make part of Axelspace’s AxelGlobe grouping whose basic task is to get daily images of the land. After the launch, the number of satellites in the AxelGlobe grouping will rise to four, which will considerably boost the possibilities of getting images. For the purpose of ensuring maximum efficiency, Axelspace will exercise control of the Fukui prefecture’s satellite in the grouping.

The Fukui prefecture satellite will be the first space vehicle in the AxelGlobe grouping that will not belong to Axelspace (it will be the property of the FSTRA). With its possession of only one satellite and using the possibilities of the jointly used space vehicles GRUS-1A/1B/1C, the FSTRA will be getting more frequently the images of the areas that are of interest for it.

"At the same time, while fully using the possibilities of the satellite of the Fukui prefecture, the company Axelspace will be able to get images of the areas lying outside the zone of the FSTRA’s interests," the statement says.

Glavkosmos Launch Services is the operator of commercial launches. The company was set up by decision of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos and is authorized to sign contracts on the launch of satellites aboard Soyuz-2 rockets from Russian spaceports.