Russia Plans First-Ever Satellite Launch from Plane
In what would be a first, Russia intends to launch a satellite from an aircraft in 2003, an official said Wednesday at the international MAKS 2001 airshow outside Moscow.
``We have almost finalized our project, which allows for a first launch at the end of 2003, and are currently carrying out negotiations with potential investors,`` said the president of Russian company Vozdushny Start Air Launch
, Anatoly Karpov.
He said officials in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have expressed interest in the project, adding that a deal could be struck by the end of the year.
The deal could be worth between 120 and 130 million dollars, according to Karpov.
Vozdushny Start, a company set up in 1997 by Russian spacecraft constructor RKK Energya and the airline Polyot, will use Russian-Ukrainian cargo plane Ruslan for the launch.
It is expected to be a far cheaper method than the 20 million dollars it costs to put one sattelite in orbit from the ground, company officials said.
This system will allow for the launch of satellites weighing up to 750,000 kilograms 1.65 million pounds
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