Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Russian Soyuz Launch Pad Readied for 2008 in Guyana
EuroNews reports that the Russian Soyuz boosters about to enter a new era with the inauguration of a building site in French Guyana. where by the end of 2008 it is hoped the Russian rocket will blast off.
The new base is at Sinnamary, just a few miles from the French launchpad at Kourou. The French are the lead contractors on the Soyuz launch pad project, and the money is coming from Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, and ESA, its European equivalent.
Robust and reliable since 1957 Soyuz has successfully launched 1718 times, putting 1661 satellites in orbit, along with 91 Russian cosmonauts, and 40 foreigners. But from Baikonour in Kazakhstan the Soyuz could only lift a two-ton payload. From South America's French Guyana, the Soyuz can use the Equator's slingshot effect to lift three tons, or an extra satellite per launch.