Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) of the UK and Rosoboronexport
of Russia today signed a contract to launch 8 microsatellites on 3
Cosmos rockets from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome during 2002-2004.

Seven of the advanced Earth Observation microsatellites will be
injected into the same orbit by the three Cosmos rockets in order to
form the first international constellation dedicated to monitoring
natural and man-made disasters. The eighth microsatellite is a
demonstration high resolution Earth Observation microsatellite for
the UK British National Space Centre. Seven of the microsatellites
are being constructed by SSTL in the UK in collaboration with its
international partners.

Cosmos and RBE were selected by SSTL for this important mission due
to their capabilities to achieve the necessary orbital injection
accuracy into a sun-synchronous orbit within the timescales needed
by SSTL and at an affordable price. Cosmos, built by Polyot of
Omsk, has an excellent record and was previously used by SSTL to
launch successfully its SNAP-1 nanosatellite and the Tsinghua-1
microsatellite for China in June 2000.

The first launch for SSTL, carrying the first DMC microsatellite
AlSAT-1, is scheduled for autumn 2002.