Eurockot Launch Services GmbH of Bremen, Germany, today announced the successful launch of two IRIDIUM spacecraft at 01:33 p.m. local time from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia using the ROCKOT launch vehicle. Both spacecraft were deployed into the specified orbit of 650 km altitude and an inclination of 86.6 degrees. Designated “IS 2”, the mission will serve the operational maintenance of the IRIDIUM constellation. This launch follows on from the successful launch of two GRACE satellites by ROCKOT on 17 March 2002.

IRIDIUM is the satellite-based, global personal voice and data communication system that comprises 66 active spacecraft plus on-orbit spares. Eurockot Launch Services was contracted to perform the “IS 2” mission following the successful completion of a Pathfinder Mission during which a complete IRIDIUM mission cycle was simulated in September 2001.

Eurockot Launch Services GmbH is the joint venture of Astrium GmbH holding 51 percent and Khrunichev Space centre holding 49 percent and provides launch services to the LEO satellite industry. Its order backlog comprises six launches from international customers to deploy their scientific and commercial satellites. Marketing activities are concentrated in Europe, Asia and North America.

Following the IRIDIUM and GRACE launches, Eurockot will perform a multiple payload launch LAP in 1Q 2003 deploying two micro-satellites into different orbits, which will demonstrate the afore-mentioned unique capabilities of our Breeze upper stage. The Canadian Space Agency’s MOST satellite will be launched into an SSO, while the Czech Astronomical Institute’s MIMOSA satellite will be transported into an elliptical orbit.

Eurockot also recently gained a contract to launch the Japanese SERVIS-1 satellite in 4Q 2003. This contract marks Eurockot`s debut in the Asian market. Furthermore, two contracts exist with an undisclosed customer for launches in 2004 and 2005.

Rockot bringt IRIDIUM Satelliten erfolgreich auf ihre Umlaufbahn