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Russia, US agree to launch 12 satellites using Soyuz-2 carrier rockets
International Space Company (ISC) Kosmotras and Planet, a US aerospace company, have signed an agreement to launch 12 Dove-series satellites, says a statement published on the website of GK Launch Services, a company established by Glavkosmos (a subsidiary of Russia's Roscosmos State Space Corporation) and Kosmotras.
"ISC Kosmotras has signed an agreement with Planet, an integrated aerospace and data analytics company based in the US, to launch 12 Dove-series satellites as a secondary payload on the Soyuz-2 Kanopus 5/6 mission presently scheduled for Q4 2018," the statement reads, adding that "the agreement also outlines provisions to continue cooperation on launching Planet payloads on future Soyuz-2 commercial missions. "The launches will be operated by GK Launch Services, a joint venture between Glavkosmos and ISC Kosmotras."
The statement points out that "Planet operates the world's largest fleet of Earth-imaging satellites and images all of Earth's landmass every day." "Planet designs, builds, and operates over 190 satellites consisting of the Dove, RapidEye and SkySat fleets, and develops the online software and tools to serve that data to users. Decision makers in business, government, NGOs and academia use Planet's data and machine learning-powered analytics to develop new technologies, deliver business outcomes, power research, and solve the world's toughest challenges," the document said.
According to the statement, "Glavkosmos is a subsidiary of Roscosmos State Space Corporation focused on the promotion of Russian space industry products and services in the world market, and management of complex international projects in space." "For over 30 years of being in business, Glavkosmos has implemented more than 120 international contracts," the statement adds.
At the same time, "GK Launch Services is a commercial operator, authorized by Roscosmos, to provide commercial launch services on Soyuz-2 family launch vehicles from Russian spaceports. GK Launch Services is also a single point of contact for Glavkosmos on all pre-contract negotiations and proposals related to secondary payload launches on Roscosmos federal missions."
According to the website of Kosmotras, the company, established in 1997, is focused on the "implementation of the Russian Program for Elimination of the SS-18 Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) that are being withdrawn from service and used in the Dnepr Space Launch System (SLS) for commercial orbital launches of payloads. Since the first Dnepr launch in April 1999, ISC Kosmotras has been actively present on the world launch services market." As many as "22 orbital flights were performed and the total number of payloads launched amounted to 128." However, in 2014, the launches were suspended since the project involved Ukrainian experts.
[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 10Jan18]
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