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Russia will launch foreign satellites from a submarine in 2007, reports SpaceDaily.

The Republic of South Africa reported in February that the Sumbandila satellite will be launched in May from a Russian submarine in the Barents Sea. “This year, Russia will conduct a series of satellite launches on behalf of foreign countries using ballistic missiles onboard a submarine,” Vladimir Masorin said.

Sumbandila will be used to provide early warning of natural calamities and man-caused disasters.

In July 2005, Russia’s Federal Space Agency reported that the Cosmos-1 satellite, launched from a nuclear submarine on a Volna booster rocket, fell into the sea June 21, 2005 as the result of engine failure. But in May 2006, Russia successfully launched the Compass-2 micro-satellite, designed to monitor natural and man-caused disasters, from the Yekaterinburg submarine in the Barents Sea using a Shtil booster rocket.

Meanwhile, TacSat-2 is well in a six- to 12-month mission to explore Operational Responsive Space, where small military satellites are developed and launched quickly in response to urgent needs. The spacecraft features 11 onboard experiments, including a medium-resolution imager that already has taken several pictures.

In other space news, a new Russian Soyuz launch base, being constructed in French Guiana, was officially opened last month. Launching Soyuz from the Guiana Space Centre (CSG) will make it possible to use French Guiana’s equatorial position. After an inaugural flight at the end of 2008, Soyuz will launch communication satellites into geostationary orbit, navigation satellites forming part of the European Galileo constellation, Earth observation satellites into polar orbit, and interplanetary probes.

Arianespace also got a new customer — Hughes — for their SPACEWAY 3 satellite. It was originally on the manifest for SeaLaunch later this year, but after last month’s launch failure, Hughes Network Systems jumped ship.

The Ariane 5 heavy launcher will launch SPACEWAY 3, a high-capacity, spotbeam satellite for 2-way internet communications from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. The launch date is now projected for August 2007.

This week the complex Space Test Program 1 may launch aboard an Atlas V from Cape Canaveral this Thursday. It’s the first flight of EELV Secondary Payload Adaptor (ESPA) and will validate the concept with 6 unique spacecraft. It includes the Orbital Express with autonomous rendezvous and proximity operations, the STPSat-1 (Space Test Program contract with AeroAstro), SHIMMER (NRL): Chemical and biological agent detection, CITRIS (NRL): Atmospheric electron counting and RF effects, CFESat for detection and geo-location of VHF/UHF signals, FalconSat-3 and MidSTAR-1.

The above illustration shows the STP 1 payload, with Orbital Express (above) and the four smaller spacecraft mounted on separation ring. The $300 million Orbital Express vehicles come in two parts (below), the smaller target NextSat and the larger service spacecraft ASTRO. They will test autonomous rendezvous.


UPDATE: The first EELV Atlas launch for the Air Force, and all satellites appear to have been released successfully. “This is a proud moment in our company’s history and a significant step forward in providing our nation assured access to space using the most cost-effective means possible,” said Michael Gass, ULA president and chief executive officer.


Related DailyWireless stories include; Dark Week in Space, Chinese Destroy Satellite – Create Space Debris Field, Space Capsule, Antartic Communications, Software Radios in Space, Satellite Jam, Advanced EHF – Wait for It and Pacific Telecommunication Council: 007.

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