US company Thiokol will supply the Castor 4B solid rocket motor for the first stage of Spain's first satellite launcher, the Capricornio, the company announced at the show yesterday.

Spain's Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial (INTA) will be supplied with motors for the first two launches of the booster, starting in 1999, and further business is expected.

The Capricornio is a three-stage solid propellant booster which will be able to place 100kg into a low Earth orbit.



"INTA wants to develop a launch vehicle for Spain and the world market that will provide economic benefit to Spanish industry and allow access to space for the small payload user," says Julian Simon, Capricornio programme manager.

The Capricornio will enter the commercial market for small satellite launchers. The first launch, however, will place the national Nanosat and Venus satellites into space.

The Nanosat has been developed by the University of Madrid Polytecnica to provide two-way store-dump communications between Spain and its national base in the Antarctica during the harsh winter months.

The Venus is a student communications satellite.

Thiokol's Castor 4B is a thrust-vectoring version of the 4A boosters which is the solid rocket motor for the Atlas 2AS booster.

Source: Flight Daily News