Launch of Dnepr rocket on June 29
The launch of a Russian-Ukrainian Dnepr rocket carrying nine foreign satellites from France, Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Italy and Russia took place on June 29 at the Baikonur cosmodrome, a source in the international Kosmotras space company told Interfax.
The French DEMETER satellite, carrying a number of smaller space vehicles, was launched into a sun-synchronized orbit by the Dnepr. On May 25, DEMETER, ordered by CNES was delivered to Baikonur. On June 11, SaudiSat-2, SaudiComsat-1 and SaudiComsat-2 satellites by the Space Research institute of Saudi Arabia were delivered to Baikonur.
U.S.-based Space Quest’s satellites LatinSat-S, LatinSat-D, and Amsat Echo, the Italian UniSat-3 from La Sapienza university in Rome, and AKS-1 from Aerospace Systems Ltd. in Russia, were delivered the same day. According to the latest reports, Russia’s AKS 1 smallsat has been dropped from the flight for technical reasons. Aerospace Systems Ltd. is a small private Russian company who claim that their goal is “is to implement new technologies in the aviation, aerospace, security, telecommunications and IT sectors by working on innovation projects and keeping close business relationship with sector leaders”.
Launch preparations were proceeded as it was planned. The Ukrainian-Russian Kosmotras performed conversion work to turn SS-18 intercontinental ballistic rockets into Dnepr launch vehicles, which were designed to launch small satellites into orbit.