Thiokol Propulsion, the Cordant Technologies business unit, is featuring a Russian-Ukrainian military missile on its stand in Hall 5.

Thiokol is offering the former SS-18 missile, called Denpr, for commercial launches to low Earth orbit (LEO) as part of a marketing link with Kosmotras.

This joint stock company of Russian and Ukrainian companies has authority from the Russian government to convert and launch more than 150 missiles to the year 2007, in compliance with the Start II treaty.

The Denpr, which can launch payloads weighing up to 3.6 tonnes in LEO, has already completed its first commercial mission.

Launched from a silo at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on 21 April, the Denpr carried the UK's 325kg Surrey Satellite Technology minisatellite into 650km, 65deg inclination orbit.

Following this success, Thiokol has stepped in to help Kosmotras, "to bring this capable - readily available - launcher to the international launcher market," says Oren Phillips, Thiokol Propulsion's vice-president for business development.


It will be equipped with a new guidance system and restartable upper stage motor, aiming at a temporary market up to 2007, if all the boosters were used.

Potential clients include Teledesic and Skybridge, two of a number of companies planning to launch large fleets of high-data rate and multimedia communications satellites.

The appointment of Thiokol as exclusive marketing agent for Dnepr outside Russia and the Ukraine is one of a series of moves by the company to diversify worldwide to offset predicted low revenues from the US domestic market.

The company is best known as the manufacturer of the Space Shuttle's solid rocket booster, which represents 60% of the company's business, as well as solid motors for the Lockheed Athena fleet and for the Atlas 2AS.

Thiokol will also supply solid motors for Japan's new H2A series of satellite launchers and has approached the Fiat Avio-led European consortium that plans to build the European Space Agency's new Vega low Earth orbit launcher.

Source: Flight Daily News