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Russia offers Morocco launch services for Earth observation satellite

Integration of the secondary payloads at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Photo credit: TUB/ILR
Integration of the secondary payloads at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Photo credit: TUB/ILR

A Russian press report dated March 16 suggests that Roscosmos, the Russian state corporation responsible for space activities, has offered launch services to Morocco’s Royal Centre for Remote Sensing, should the North African country seek to “resume” its remote sensing satellite programme.

The Russians launched Morocco’s Maroc-TubSat from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in 2001, but Rabat has not launched any satellites since then.

In 2013, it is alleged that Morocco ordered one or two high-resolution imaging satellites from Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defense and Space, a contract said to be worth at least US$410 million. Details of this order are scarce, but it is believed that the satellites on order are based on the French Pleiades high-resolution satellite design, and similar to the Falcon Eye reconnaissance satellites on order for the United Arab Emirates.

It is not clear from the Russian press report whether the offer of launch services are for the French-built satellites ordered in 2013.

 

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