Russian rocket to launch from French Guiana in 2010

Nov 07, 2009

A Russian rocket will next year for the first time blast off from a European launch pad in South America, officials said Saturday, as the first rockets headed for the site on board a ship.

Two Russian Soyuz rockets, the mainstay of its space programme, were later Saturday to depart the northern city of Saint Petersburg by ship bound for the French overseas department of French Guiana.

Packed in containers, they will arrive 15 days later ahead of the first planned launches next year of Soyuz rockets from France's Kourou launch site in French Guiana.

"We are in line for the first launch in the second quarter of next year," the chief executive of French aerospace firm Arianespace Jean-Yves Le Gall told AFP.

Finally confirming the project is ready after a string of delays, he said that the first to be launched by a Soyuz from French Guiana will be the Hylas of British firm Avanti Communications.

The satellite will deliver broadband and corporate data network services across Europe, according to the company.

Two other such launches are planned in 2010 -- the Pleiades Observation Satellite and a launch of two satellites in Europe's Galileo programme.

The first Soyuz launch had been envisaged in 2009 but was delayed due to hold-ups in the delivery of the infrastructure that the needs in order to function.

The move to French Guiana is a major step for Russia, which has mostly relied on the Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan from where the first man-made object and the first astronaut were launched into space.

Launching Russian rockets so close to the United States is likely to send a strong message about Russia's continued role in space.

It brings several other advantages for Moscow, including reducing dependence on Baikonur, which has been the subject of periodic disputes with Kazakh authorities.

French Guiana's closeness to the also enables heavier payloads -- three tonnes compared with 1.7 tonnes from Baikonur -- as launches can gain extra momentum from the Earth's own spinning motion.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Successful engine test enables SpaceX Falcon 9 soar to space station in Jan. 2015

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Russian Space Agency mulls launches from Kuru

Oct 06, 2005

The Russian Space Agency (RSA) may launch its new Kliper spacecraft from the Kuru space center in French Guiana, RSA Deputy Director Nikolai Moiseev said Wednesday, reports RIA Novosti.

GIOVE-B on the launch pad

Apr 24, 2008

The launcher that will carry GIOVE-B into orbit has been moved from the final assembly building to the launch pad in preparation for liftoff on Sunday morning.

Russia launches telecom satellite

Nov 18, 2007

The Russian space agency Sunday launched a telecommunications satellite into orbit from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

Recommended for you

The top 101 astronomical events to watch for in 2015

22 hours ago

Now in its seventh year of compilation and the second year running on Universe Today, we're proud to feature our list of astronomical happenings for the coming year. Print it, bookmark it, hang it on your ...

NASA image: Frosty slopes on Mars

Dec 24, 2014

This image of an area on the surface of Mars, approximately 1.5 by 3 kilometers in size, shows frosted gullies on a south-facing slope within a crater.

Opportunity rover struggles with flash memory problems

Dec 24, 2014

NASA's Opportunity Mars rover, also known as "Oppy", is continuing its traverse southward on the western rim of Endeavour Crater despite computer resets and "amnesia" that have occurred after reformatting ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Keno_Dan
not rated yet Nov 08, 2009
All we have over the Russians is the elegant and flexible SPACE SHUTTLE. Thank goodness NASA wouldn't think of retiring the world's only true space ship........right?.......right?....Daniel Sterling Sample http://www.cyrus-...stem.com
rwinners
5 / 5 (1) Nov 08, 2009
"Launching Russian rockets so close to the United States is likely to send a strong message about Russia's continued role in space."
Ho hum. I suppose it's not generally known that Russia will be the primary supplier of goodies to the Space Station over the next 5 or so years.
Sauvignon
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
I love the way this situation so strongly illustrates the advantages of sticking with what works. Change for the sake of change is one of the curses of our age.
Keno_Dan
not rated yet Nov 09, 2009
It is not too late to learn from the Russians and reverse the dead end course we are on with the CONSTELLATION. The STS II(aka SUPER SHUTTLE) is on the drawing board at: http://www.cyrus-...stem.com Daniel Sterling Sample

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.