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Skolkovo Foundation launches technopark in orbit
5 Nov '15
The Skolkovo Orbital Launch Center is offering universities and private businesses the opportunity to regularly launch under 10 kilo nanosatellites to conduct space experiments and test technologies, reported Rossiiskaya Gazeta, the official mouthpiece for the Russian government.
The first launch is reportedly slated for next year already. Skolkovo will be able to conduct three nanosatellite launches a year.
Nanosatellites will be placed in special transportation containers which the organizers plan to fix on the outside of the Progress, a powerful Russian rocket. Each container can carry up to six CubeSat (U-class) satellites (10cm cubes). So, each rocket can take to the International Space Station as many as 24 such cubes. The U-class spacecraft has a service life of 18-to-24 months.
Satellites can carry any type of payload, a spokesman for the Skolkovo Foundation said, including cameras to photograph the Earth, telecom equipment, devices for scientific experiments. Small spacecraft like these can also be used to test and fine-tune advanced technologies.
Nanosatellites are already used across the world to test laser communications and other systems in outer space.
Experts predict that as many as 2,000 small spacecraft may be launched by different countries in the next five years.