Russian space agency Roskosmos and Ukraine's Yuzhnoye state design office are working on an uprated version of the Tsyklon (Cyclone) booster, which will be offered for commercial launches.

The Tsyklon 2K, equipped with an APM 600 apogee propulsion module, will be launched from Baikonur in August on a demonstration flight carrying a payload called Liana. The new vehicle will be capable of launching a 2,000kg payload into 700km Sun-synchronous orbit.

Tsyklon 2K will be the fifth version of a booster that first flew in 1967, launching anti-satellite prototypes. A sixth model, Tsyklon 4, is being developed for proposed launches from Alcantara, Brazil beginning in 2006.

Meanwhile, Roskosmos says Russian commercial launches should be marketed at more realistic, higher prices conforming with average international rates. The agency also says proposals for cluster launches of multiple international satellites on Dnepr converted ballistic missiles, operated by Russian-Ukrainian company Kosmotras are premature and must be cleared first.

Source: Flight International