Today, on June 15, 2007 at 06:14 a.m. Moscow time (02:14 UTC) the German EADS ASTRIUM GmbH TerraSAR-X satellite was successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome into a 514.8 km sun-synchronous orbit aboard a converted SS-18 ICBM commercially known as "Dnepr".
TerraSAR-X is an earth observation satellite that carries an X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) designed to provide high resolution images of the Earth surface. This program is a public-private partnership between the German Space Agency DLR and EADS Astrium GmbH. The mass of the TerraSAR-X is 1346 kg.
It has been the first launch of converted SS-18 rocket that carried an extended space head module designed by Yuzhnoye SDO and manufactured by YuzhMash Plant. ISC Kosmotras will offer this configuration specifically for the launches of large-size satellites of more than 5 meters in length and up to 2.7 m diameter.
"The new space head module capable of accommodating larger payloads was created as a prospective area of the Dnepr program development. Such a configuration makes it possible to upgrade the Dnepr capabilities for orbital injection of large-size satellites", said Vladimir Andreev, ISC Kosmotras Director General, shortly after the launch.
Currently another launch campaign is underway at the Yasny Launch Base, from where the Bigelow Aerospace Genesis-2 satellite is expected to be launched on SS-18 rocket in the near future.
ISC Kosmotras appreciates the contribution of the RF Ministry of Defense, Federal Space Agency of Russia, National Space Agency of Ukraine, and industry teams of Russia and Ukraine to the success of the TerraSAR-X launch mission.