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Russia starts equipment delivery for Kourou space center July 10

RIA Novosti

16/06/2008 21:18 SAMARA, June 16 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian rocket and space company has started preparing the equipment to be sent to the Kourou launch site in French Guiana, a spokesman for the Samara-based TsSKB Progress said on Monday.

"The first vessel will set out from Vyborg [near St. Petersburg] with 105 containers of equipment provided by 18 Russian enterprises. All the equipment has been adapted to meet European standards," he said.

He said the vessel is due to leave port on July 10 and arrive by the end of the month.

"Installation work at the Kourou space center will start in August and is to be completed by the end of 2008. The first two Soyuz ST rockets are to be launched in January 2009," he said.

The Kourou launch site is intended mainly for the launch of geostationary satellites. Its close proximity to the equator will enable the Soyuz-ST to put into orbit heavier satellites than from Baikonur in Kazakhstan and Plesetsk in northern Russia.

Under a contract signed last June with the French satellite launch firm Arianespace, the Soyuz will have a separate launch pad near Sinnamari, a village 10 kilometers (six miles) north of the site used for the Ariane-5, the main European-made booster.

Launches of Soyuz spacecraft are the key part of the Russian-French space exploration program.

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