Russian Space Co. To Launch At Least 11 Satellites By 2009

A leading Russian space company said Monday it holds commercial orders for 11 satellite launches up to 2009. The director general of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, Vladimir Nesterov, said Proton carrier rockets, which the center produces, account for some 30% of commercial launches on the global market. Proton rockets have orbited 41 foreign commercial spacecraft since 1996, he said.

"The ILS joint venture, established in 1995, is still in charge of marketing our Proton carrier rockets. Although the American aerospace company Lockheed-Martin, which was previously part of the joint venture, has sold part of its stake, this has caused no particular problems," Nesterov said.

Under a strategy for the development of the space rocket industry up to 2015, adopted by the government in July, the sector will be restructured to set up 10 integrated companies by 2010, which will be replaced by three or four large corporations to include most of the industry.

Nesterov said the Khrunichev center would incorporate four space companies to stabilize and refresh the center's financial state, by boosting investment using additional funds from new members of the future integrated structure.