Dnepr end game: Russia pulls the plug

by | Sep 14, 2016 | commercial launch services | 0 comments

The Russo-Ukrainian firm ISC Kosmotras which had hoped to launch two Iridium satellites on board a Dnepr launch vehicle currently in its silo, will not be able to according to the Russian Isvestia news service. This is because the Russian government, via its Roscosmos and URSC agencies, has formally ended its permission to process and launch spacecraft from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan (the Baikonur Cosmodrome is under Russian control).    

Comment by Phil Hylands: Kosmotras had previously expressed a wish to continue with the Dnepr launch vehicle programme (to be called Baikal) with Kosmotras transitioning to an all-Russian launch organisation. In this, Kosmotras was very optimistic given that the Russian government remains determined to end the use of Dnepr as a launch vehicle. This is because Ukraine would still have an involvement in re-engineering the former ballistic missiles into space launch vehicles. There are also concerns, both in Russia and in Kazakhstan, over the fact that the launch vehicle uses hydrazine as one of its main propellants. Hydrazine is known to be highly toxic and carcinogenic. 


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