ROCKOT Launches GRACE Successfully
Bremen / Plesetsk, 17 March 2002, 10:21 a.m. MEZ: 24 hours later but with a picture book launch Rockot successfully launches two GRACE satellites of NASA / DLR from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia using the ROCKOT launch vehicle. Eurockot Launch Services GmbH carried out its first commercial mission by deploying the twin GRACE satellites into the specified orbit of 500 km at an inclination of 89 degrees under contract to the German Aerospace Centre DLR.
This launch follows on from the successful demonstration flight of ROCKOT on 16 May 2000 during which the dedicated launch facilities at Plesetsk Cosmodrome were commissioned.
GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) is a joint NASA / DLR (German Aerospace Centre) programme. The German Space Operations Centre of DLR at Oberpfaffenhofen will be responsible for GRACE mission management and operations. Both spacecraft were manufactured by Astrium,Friedrichshafenwith the German-Russian Eurockot Launch Services company acting as the launch service provider and GFZ Potsdam, Germany’s national centre of geosciences together performing the scientific data evaluation. Both GRACE spacecraft will measure the earth`s gravitational field from an altitude of 500 km with a precision a hundred times more exact than systems used so far. This degree of precision, combined with measurements recurring monthly will allow the exact definition of land masses and oceans and will thus contribute significantly to global climate research.
Eurockot is the joint venture of Astrium and Khrunichev Space Centre and provides launch services to operators of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites exclusively using the ROCKOT launch vehicle based on the Russian SS-19 ICBM. Rockot is a three-stage launch vehicle that combines the SS-19 ICBM with the newly designed BREEZE upper stage. ROCKOT launches a max. payload of 1,950 kg from Plesetsk Cosmodrome which is particularly suited for high inclination launches including sun-synchronous launches.
Eurockot Launch Services has an order backlog of five launches from customers in theUS,Canada,CzechRepublicandJapanto deploy their scientific and commercial satellites. The next launch of ROCKOT is scheduled for June 2002 and will loft 2 IRIDIUM satellites.For further information please contact Peter Freeborn Phone + 49 421 539 6512 email firstname.lastname@example.org