Ukrainian-Russian DNEPR to launch five small Rapid-I satellites
The Ukrainian-Russian DNEPR launcher will inject into orbit five Rapid-I satellites in 2007 according to a statement by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau following a technical meeting in preparation of this launch.
“A contract between the British SSTL company and Kosmotras launch provider has been signed, as well as a launch contract with Yuzhnoye, for the launch of five Rapid-I satellites in one go by a DNEPR launcher from Baikonur in February 2007,” the statement reads.
The technical meeting was attended by the representatives of the British company SSTL, led by the Launch Operations Manager, Andy Courier; the Canadian company MDA, represented by the Project Manager, Lawrence Reeves; and Nina Pestrel from the CST company of the UK. The Russian company Kosmotras was represented by the head of Launch Programmes Department, Vladimir Kalnov.
The constellation of five satellites that will be injected into orbit is designed to survey the Earth’s surface to obtain mapping data and agricultural information. The satellites have been ordered by the German insurance company Rapid-I and the prime contractor is the well-known Canadian company MDA, while the satellite platform is designed by the SSTL from UK. Each satellite weighs 176.8 kg.
During the meeting, all the necessary inputs for the technical project were distributed and the joint schedule of activities was finalised. The preliminary design is planned to be ready in December 2005, the critical design phase will be completed in April 2006, while the ground tests are scheduled for August 2006. The launch date is currently scheduled for February 2007.