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Delayed Russian launches from Baikonur scheduled for July and September 2012 21 июня 2012, 18:38

Two Russian space launches from Kazakhstan's Baikonur will be made in the middle of summer and the beginning of autumn.
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Rocket being brought to the launching pad. ©RIA Novosti Rocket being brought to the launching pad. ©RIA Novosti
Two Russian space launches from Baikonur, delayed because of lack of agreement with Kazakhstan, will be made in the middle of summer and the beginning of autumn, Interfax-Kazakhstan reports. "Kazakhstan has permitted to use its territory as a drop zone for the first stage of Soyuz rocket. That's why the delayed group launch of Russian satellites Kanopus-B and MKA-PN1, Belarus BKA, Canadian ADS-1B and German TET-1 is now scheduled for July 22," a source in space industry said. He added that the launch of European meteorological space vehicle MetOp-B that was also delayed over no agreement with Kazakhstan party was rescheduled for September 19. The source reminded that the group launch was initially scheduled for June 7 and the launch of the European satellite was planned for May 23. According to him, preparation for these launches was suspended because Kazakhstan dragged on the decision on the Russia's use of No.120 drop zone in the north of Kazakhstan at the territory of Kostanay and Aktobe oblasts. The source noted that the specifics of these two space launches is that the satellites are brought to the sun-synchronous orbit; that's why the carrier rocket is launched northwards. According to him, No.120 drop zone for the first stage of Soyuz rocket carrier is used very rarely and thus requires a special permit from Kazakhstan competent authorities every time it is used. Kazakhstan Prime-Minister Karim Massimov earlier stated that Kazakhstan gave a permit to Russia for the unplanned launch of the space vehicles from Baikonur cosmodrome. "Today we have principally agreed that Kazakhstan issues a permit to Russia for these unplanned launches," Massimov said at the joint press-conference with Russian Prime-Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Belarus Prime-Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich in Saint-Petersburg on June 15. He stressed that the agreements concerned a complicated issue related to Baikonur. "I consider it a good agreement," Kazakhstan PM said. Preparations for the two launches of Soyuz rockets started at Baikonur in the middle of spring: Soyuz-2.1a rocket with European meteorological space vehicles MetOp-B and Soyuz-FG rocket with a cluster of Russian satellites Kanopus-B and MKA, Belarus BKA, Canadian ADS-1B and German TET-1. "However, it turned out in the middle of the launch campaign that Russian party does not have the agreements with Kazakhstan authorities on the drop zones for Soyuz rocket debris: the launches have to be made on the rarely used so-called "grey route". The drop zones for such rarely used routes require a separate agreement every time, and there was none for these launches," the source said. The efforts of RosKosmos to resolve this problem had no results: Kazakhstan experts believe that "allocation of the drop zones requires an agreement between Russia and Kazakhstan. Such agreement has been prepared for several years and not ready for signing yet," he added. He also stated that traditionally the rockets are launched from Baikonur eastward with the azimuth of 63 to 73 degrees. The rare launches on the so-called "southern route" are made in the direction of the equator with the azimuth of 78 degrees. "In this case the first drop zone is at the territory of Turkmenistan and the second is in the Indian ocean," he said. The "Northern Route" of the launches from Baikonur has the azimuth of 94 degrees. The rocket's route goes over northern Kazakhstan, Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk and Perm oblasts of Russia. The first drop zone is in the north of Kazakhstan, the second is in Perm oblast and the third is between Greenland and Spitzbergen islands. "During the launch along the "Northern Route" the satellite is brought to the so-called "polar" or "sun-synchronous" orbit. This enables the spacecraft to fly over high latitudes and near-polar regions. This orbit is used for meteorological satellites and Russian satellites of Earth remote sensing," the source said.

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