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Russia And ESA Sign Contract For Four Soyuz Launches From Kourou

The 344-million-euro Kourou launch pad, located near the equator, will make it possible for Russia's updated Soyuz-ST to orbit heavier cargoes than from the Plesetsk Space Center in northern Russia or the Baikonur space center leased by Russia from Kazakhstan. Illustration courtesy Flug Revue.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) May 16, 2007
Samara-based design bureau Progress plans to sign a contract with the European Space Agency at Le Bourget air show for the launch of four Soyuz-ST carrier rockets from the Kourou space center in French Guiana. Progress spokesman Alexander Kirilin said the first contract will be signed in mid-June. The company has already built the first two Soyuz-ST rockets to be shipped to French Guiana by sea.

"One rocket will be sent in late 2007 and the other in early 2008," he said, adding that 12-13 Soyuz rockets will be launched from Russian soil before the end of the current year. The first Kourou launch is planned for 2009.

The European space company said last November that launching one of Russia's new booster rockets from the site in French Guiana, on the north coast of South America, will cost customers $50 million.

Russian and French space officials signed a contract in February 2006 to launch four Soyuz-ST booster rockets from Kourou over the next 10 years to orbit heavy payloads.

The 344-million-euro Kourou launch pad, located near the equator, will make it possible for Russia's updated Soyuz-ST to orbit heavier cargoes than from the Plesetsk Space Center in northern Russia or the Baikonur space center leased by Russia from Kazakhstan.

The project, which is based on a November 2003 agreement between the Russian and French governments, will also allow Russia to substantially expand its commercial use of Soyuz booster rockets on the international market.

Source: RIA Novosti

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Lockheed Martin-Built Astra 1L Satellite Ready For Launch
Newtown PA (SPX) May 02, 2007
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