Kazakhstan will plans to increase its share in the Kosmotras launch company from 10 percent to 33.3 percent next year, Kazakh National Space Agency Talgat Musabayev said on Friday, ITAR-TASS reports.
Late last year, the country acquired 10 percent of the Moscow-based joint stock company, which has Russian and Ukrainian partners. Kosmotras, also known as Cosmotrans, launches Dnepr rockets from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and the Yasny launch complex in Russia.
â€œThat was the first step in Kazakhstanâ€™s accession to its own spaceport. We have not been present there until now; today we take part in space activities and launches,â€ he said.
The Dnepr is a decommissioned Soviet SS-18 ICBM modified to launch relatively small satellites into orbit. The rocket has launched more than 160 missions. The company reports that it is gearing up to launch a group of satellites in June:
Preparations for the next Dnepr cluster launch are about to begin at Yasny launch base. Payloads to be launched include Sich-2 and BPA-2 of the State Space Agency of Ukraine, Nigeriasat-2 and Nigeriasat-X of SSTL, UK, RASAT of Space Research Technology Institute of Turkey (TUBITAK UZAY), EDUSAT of the La Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, and Aprizesat-5 and Aprizesat-6 of SpaceQuest, USA.
The primary payload of the mission â€“ Sich-2 satellite, and BPA-2 of the State Space Agency of Ukraine had been delivered to Yasny launch base earlier. Shipment of the remaining payloads for the launch is scheduled to occur within May 2011.
According to the current schedule, this Dnepr launch that will carry eight satellites into a sun-synchronous orbit is tentatively planned for June 2011. The exact launch date will be confirmed after all satellites have arrived at Yasny launch base.
Primary area of ISC Kosmotras business operations is linked to implementation of the Russian Program for Elimination of the SS-18 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) that are being withdrawn from service and used in the Dnepr Space Launch System (SLS) for commercial orbital launches of payloads. Dnepr launches are performed by ISC Kosmotras from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (Republic of Kazakhstan) and Yasny launch base located in Orenburg Region, Russia.
ISC Kosmotras shareholders are a team of leading scientific research and manufacturing entities of Russia and Ukraine that built the Dnepr SLS and today exercise the follow-on oversight of its operation.