Moscow – Ukraine has received the conclusions by Russian experts who analyzed the technical and economic feasibility of continuing the joint space program on commercial satellites launches to the Earth orbit using the Dnepr rockets, a source in military and diplomatic circles in Moscow told Interfax-AVN last week.
“Experts from Roskosmos and the Russian Defense Ministry, under their
leadership’s instructions have analyzed the possibility and expediency
of the continuation of the Dnepr project. Their findings were handed to
the Ukrainian side and the Kosmotras Company in early September,” the
He noted that in the case of the Dnepr rockets the major problem was
financial. “Up to now, Kosmotras has been paid for the launch of a
rocket a trifle – a few million rubles, while the cost of one launch was
about 80 times higher. The difference was covered from the Russian
budget,” he said.
“The Ukrainian side has been offered new, but still, preferential
conditions to start to pay an amount close to the cost [of a launch].
It’s up to them to decide,” the source said.
The Ukrainian-Russian-Kazakh space company Kosmotras specializes in
converting RS-20 intercontinental ballistic missiles (the SS-18 Satan by
Western classification) into Dnepr launch vehicles and uses them to put
small satellites into orbit. Until recently, Dnepr rockets were
launched from the Baikonur space center. At present, the Dnepr rocket is
launched from a launch pad belonging to the Russian Strategic Rocket
Forces’ division in Orenburg region.
Seventeen Dnepr launches have been carried out since April 1999,
including 12 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and five from Orenburg region.