Russia’s ISC Set for Six-Satellite Dnepr Launch

[Satellite TODAY Insider 08-17-11] Six Earth observational satellites are set to launch simultaneously on Aug. 17 from the Yasny Launch Base in southwestern Russia on a Dnepr launch vehicle operated by the Russian International Space Co. (ISC). The launch of the satellites had originally been scheduled for July 7, but was postponed due to technical issues from the launcher.
   Rasat, Turkey’s first domestically produced observation satellite, was designed, manufactured and tested by engineers and technicians from Turkey’s Space Technologies Research Institute (Tubitak-Uzay) and funded by the Turkish State Planning Organization (DPT). The satellite was shipped to the Yasny Launch Base in June.
Rasat’s flight systems, including its computer software and hardware, its communication system and its image-capturing system were produced by Tubitak-Uzay, which completed testing of the satellite’s operational and system readiness at the Market Surveillance Laboratory of Turkey’s Hacettepe University.
   In an Aug. 15 statement, Tubitak-Uzay officials said they hoped that the satellite would increase the potential of Turkey’s high-tech industry. “The primary purpose of the Rasat program is for Turkey to gain experience launching satellites and improve the infrastructure currently available in Turkey for assembling, integrating and testing small satellites, without any foreign funding. Imagery produced by Rasat will be used for city and regional planning, forestry and agricultural purposes.”
   Nigeria’s second earth observation satellite, Sat-X, will join Rasat as a multi-payload on the Dnepr rocket. The experimental satellite was built by Nigerian engineers to be placed in orbit following the launch of its previous Earth observation satellite, Nigeria Sat-2, which also was launched by Dnepr. The satellite received financial support from Nigeria’s National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA).
   In a statement, NARSDA spokesman Felix Ale said the mission’s previous delay was a cautious move that did not alarm his agency. “Launch delay is a frequent occurrence in the launching business as this is a very critical and sensitive stage as any failure can be very devastating. Launch agencies should always take adequate measures to ensure a perfect launch.”
The remaining payloads for the launch are Italy’s Edusat, U.S. satellites Arsat-5 and Arsat-6 and Sich-2 for the Ukraine.
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