Demonstration launch of SAR-Lupe satellites successful
COSMOS launcher with modified payload fairing now qualified
There was palpable joy and relief at Bremen-based space technology company OHB-System AG when a very special COSMOS-3M launcher successfully placed two Russian military satellites in their intended orbits last Thursday at 4:00 CET after taking off from the Plesetsk cosmodrome. What set this launcher apart was the fact that it was fitted with fairing specially adjusted to carry the SAR-Lupe satellites. The tip of the launcher had to be modified to accommodate the three-meter wide parabolic antenna fitted to the radar satellites currently being developed at OHB. Based in Omsk, PO Polyot, the company producing the launchers, developed and built the fairing on behalf of Bremen company COSMOS International and successfully proved its functionality with today’s launch.
“With this success, Polyot and COSMOS International have demonstrated that SAR-Lupe can be reliably launched using the modified COSMOS carrier,” said Dr. Ingo Engeln, who is responsible at OHB for the SAR-Lupe project, adding that this marked a further key step in the implementation of the project.
OHB in Bremen is currently integrating the SAR-Lupe satellites. The first of five flight satellites has already been fitted with the synthetic aperture radar supplied by Alcatel Space, Toulouse, and Tesat Spacecom, Backnang, for capturing image data. The SAR-Lupe radar-image-based reconnaissance system being built for the German Federal Armed Forces comprises five satellites and a ground station for controlling the satellites and evaluating the downloaded data. Located in Gelsdorf, the ground station has now very largely been completed.
A subsidiary of OHB System AG, COSMOS International offers global satellite launching services using the highly reliable Russian COSMOS-3M carriers. To date, COSMOS has successfully placed Russian and, since 1999, also several Western satellites in their target orbits over 750 times.