Russia Launches Angola's First Telecom Satellite Using Ukrainian Rocket
December 27, 2017
Russia on December 26 launched a rocket carrying Angola's first telecom satellite from the Baikonur space center with the rare use of a rocket from Ukraine, despite collapsed ties between the two nations.
Live footage aired by Russia's Roscosmos space agency showed the spacecraft take off into the night from the freezing launch pad in Kazakhstan. It reached initial orbit shortly after.
The Zenit-2SB rocket carrying the Angosat-1 satellite to orbit was supplied by Ukrainian maker Yuzhmash, making the launch a rare joint project between the two countries since 2014, when ties between them plummeted after Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and backed a separatist war in the east.
The Angosat project was agreed by Russia and Angola in 2009 and includes the satellite, its launch, and on-the-ground infrastructure in a suburb of the capital, Luanda.
The $280 million project was financed with a credit from Russian state banks.
The satellite is designed for a 15-year mission to boost satellite communications, Internet access, radio, and TV service.
Russia initially wanted to use its new Angara rocket to launch the satellite but opted for the Zenit rocket instead, which is built by Ukrainian contractor Yuzhmash.
The project went ahead despite space cooperation between Russia and Ukraine being suspended following Moscow's annexation of Crimea.
Angola is one of Africa's top oil producers, but many of its citizens are mired in poverty.
Based on reporting by AFP and TASS
Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|