During its 8th orbital launch, the Dnepr launcher was scheduled to carry a 100-kilogram Earth-watching satellite for the Egyptian government along with a number of secondary payloads. Original flight manifest also included two Russian payloads, known as AKS-1 and 2, however they were later dropped.
In 2001, KB Yuzhnoe design bureau based in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, won the international tender from the government of Egypt for the development of the first Egyptian satellite for the observation of the Earth surface. The project was desingated EgyptSat-1. According to KB Yuzhnoe it competed in the tender with bidders from UK, Russia, Korea and Italy. Egypt's National Authority for Remote Sensing, NARSS, served as a customer for KB Yuzhnoe.
EgyptSat-1 was based on the MS-1TK platform and was deisgned to operate in a solar- synchronous orbit. Ukraine was also responsible for the development and maintenance of a ground control station in Egypt, as well as for training of Egyptian flight control personell.
Along with KB Yuzhnoe, a number of Ukrainian sub-contrators joined the project:
Secondary payloads included so-called CubeSats, which were to be released after the primary spacecraft has been deployed into a nearly circular, 700-kilometer polar orbit. Three P-POD containers were designed to hold the CubeSats on the rocket and deploy them at the correct point in the launch sequence.
Payloads of Dnepr's 8th orbital mission:
Originally, the launch of Egyptsat-1 was scheduled for November 2004, however it then slipped to May 27, 2005, second quarter of 2006, Septmber 2006, Jan. 29, February and March 27, 2007.
The Egyptsat-1 was shipped to Baikonur at the end of November 2006 and was unloaded in the processing area of Site 31 on Dec. 5, 2007. At the time launch was expected to take place on Jan. 16, 2007.
On March 26, 2007 the Russian space officials reported that the launch scheduled for 6:46:35 UTC on March 27, 2007 was delayed due to technical problems. Original reports suggested that it could be a 24-hour delay, however, on March 27, official Russian media reported that technical problems would would push the mission to the first decade of April. As it transpired, problems with electrical wiring in the upper stage of the rocket caused the delay. As a result, the payload section of the rocket had to be detached from the booster stage and removed from the launch silo allowing technicians to replace failed wiring and recharge onboard battaries. Although repairs required only couple of days, schedule conflicts in Baikonur pushed the mission to April 17, 2007, Russian space officials said.
The new launch attempt was scheduled for April 17, 2007, at 10:46 Moscow Time.
Dnepr returns to flight
The Dnepr rocket lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome's underground silo facility at Site 109 on April 17, 2007, at 10:46 Moscow Time (06:46 UTC), carrying 14 commercial payloads. After the launch, the rocket headed south to reach a 640-kilometer Sun-synchronous orbit.
According to representatives of the Russian space agency, Roskosmos, all payloads successfully separated from the upper stage of the launch vehicle between 11:01 and 11:02 Moscow Time, and control over satellites was transferred to respective customers.
After the launch, Kosmotras announced that it is preparing two more missions of the Dnepr rocket from Baikonur and Dombarovskiy.
Watch video of the launch: Streaming QuickTime: 24 seconds Credit: Bruce Campbell
The MS-1TK spacecraft platform developed by KB Yuzhnoe for commercial applications. Configuration circa 2001. Credit: KB Yuzhnoe
The Egyptsat-1 satellite. Credit: KB Yuzhnoe
Dnepr lifts off on April 17, 2007. Credit: Bruce Campbell Click to enlarge