On July 12th 2006 at 18:54 Moscow time, the US manufactured Genesis-1 spacecraft was successfully launched into the cusomter’s predetermined orbit, aboard a Dnepr rocket from Yasny launch base. The launch was prepared and performed by specialists of RF Ministry of Defense and industrial enterprises of Russia and Ukraine under the leadership of International Space Company Kosmotras.
The Dnepr launch vehicle is a converted SS-18 ICBM. This was the inaugural launch from the new Yasny launch base, located in the Orenburg region of Russia, and was also the first launch for Bigelow Aerospace.
Bigelow Aerospace is a Las-Vegas based company, founded, owned and operated by visionary entrepreneur Robert T. Bigelow. The goal of Bigelow Aerospace is to create a revolution in space commerce by constructing affordable, reliable, and robust expandable space habitats. Expandable habitats have the potential to offer lower mass, superior protection from radiation, and increased volume in comparison to their traditional metallic counterparts.
The Genesis-1 is the first in a line of sub-scale technology demonstrators that will allow Bigelow Aerospace (“BA”) to develop and validate its plans for a future full-scale habitat called the BA-330. By drastically reducing the price of manufacturing, launching and operating a space platform, BA hopes to reenergize global interest in space development and reengage the general public.
After Genesis-1 establishes BA’s fundamental concepts, future BA spacecraft will test more complex subsystems.
According to Mike Gold, Corporate Counsel, who was overseeing BA operations at Yasny, “This launch was the first step in an adventure that will take us all to the stars and beyond.”
For ISC Kosmotras, its team of Russian and Ukrainian companies, of which Yuzhonye State Design Office is the primary contributor, it was the sixth launch of the Dnepr LV and Genesis-1 was the 23rd spacecraft successfully deployed by this team in orbit.
Extensive research and evaluation activities on the environmental impact and safety compliance procedures development were made prior to the launch from Yasny launch base. This was a nearly identical process as that which is conducted at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
According to Vladimir Andreev, Director General of ISC Kosmotras, commissioning of the new Yasny launch base significantly expands the capabilities of the Dnepr Space Launch System. In the future, launches will be performed both from Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakhstan) and from Yasny launch base (Russia).