US solid-rocket manufacturer Thiokol of Ogden, Utah, has been chosen to supply the Castor 4B motor for the first stage of Spain's first satellite launcher, the Capricornio.

The company will supply Spain's Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial (INTA) with motors for the first two launches of the booster, starting in 1999.

Eventually, Spain hopes to enter the commercial market for launches of small satellites into low-Earth orbit (LEO). The Capricornio will be capable of placing 100kg into LEO.

The first launch, probably from the Canary Islands, will place into orbit the national Nanosat communications satellites and a students' craft, called the Venus.

Source: Flight International