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Kosmotras, a Russian-Ukrainian joint venture, will launch Thailand's first Earth observation
Kosmotras, a Russian-Ukrainian joint venture, will launch Thailand's first Earth observation satellite into orbit at the beginning of 2008, a company official said on Wednesday.

The THEOS satellite has been designed and manufactured by French company EADS Astrium under a 2004 contract with the Thai Ministry of Science and Technology. The spacecraft will be launched on board a Dnepr carrier rocket from a launch pad in the Orenburg Region in the Urals.

"Kosmotras started today the preparation for the [THEOS] launch scheduled for the first quarter of 2008," said Vladimir Mikhailov, first deputy general director of the company, adding that the satellite had been delivered from Toulouse in France to the launch site.

THEOS will provide Thailand with worldwide geo-referenced image products and image-processing capabilities for applications in cartography, land use, agricultural monitoring, forestry management, coastal zone monitoring and flood risk management.

Kosmotras, established in 1997, converts RS-20 (SS-18 Satan) intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), scrapped by Russia's Strategic Missile Forces, into Dnepr launch vehicles.

The Thai satellite will be the third to be launched by the company from the Yasny launch pad in the Urals. Kosmotras launched the Genesis I and Genesis II pathfinder spacecraft from the same location in July 2006 and June 2007, respectively, under a contract with U.S.-based company Bigelow Aerospace.


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