Index

Agreement Reached To Launch Satellites From Canada

Moscow Interfax in English, 1321 GMT 24 Jan 97

MOSCOW, Jan 24 (Interfax) -- Russia plans to start launching commercial satellites from the Spaceport Canada site, northern Canada, in 1998, a well- informed source told Interfax in Moscow Friday. The satellites will be launched with the Russian-made multipurpose Start mobile-launch complex, the source said. Geographically, the Canadian site is very convenient to launch satellites to sun-synchronized orbits, which means that the satellite always stays in the lighted hemisphere, and highly inclined orbits.

The Moscow-based Kompleks Research and Technical Center, which made the civilian version of the military Topol mobile-launch complex equipped with RS-12M missiles, signed a relevant agreement with Canada's Akjuit Aerospace in 1996. Two missiles of this type have already been launched from the Plesetsk site in the Arkhangelsk region of Russia with a 50 percent success rate. Svobodnyy, a new Russian launch site in the Amur region, is now preparing to launch this missile for the first time with the Russian communications satellite Zeya onboard. The US remote surface-scanning satellite Early Bird and the Swedish research satellite Odin are also expected to be launched with Start missiles.

Akjuit Aerospace leased the former research test site in Canada for 30 years in 1994. Canada launched about 3,500 research rockets into the upper layers of the atmosphere before the site was closed in 1981. Kompleks owns both the mobile launch complex and the Start missile, the source underlined. Only Russian personnel will handle all operations to prepare the launches. The agreement between Kompleks and Akjuit Aerospace is the first- ever agreement on commercial launches with Russian carriers from a foreign site. The launch of one satellite weighing 600 kilograms is priced at $3 million to $5 million.

THIS REPORT MAY CONTAIN COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. COPYING AND DISSEMINATION IS PROHIBITED WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT OWNERS.