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Bigelow signs contracts for Dnepr launches
Posted: Fri, May 14, 2004, 10:46 AM ET (1446 GMT)
Dnepr launch (Kosmotras) Bigelow Aerospace, an American company developing inflatable orbital habitats, has signed a contract for six launches on a Russian Dnepr booster, Russian news services reported this week. According to the RIA Novosti news agency, Bigelow and Kosmotras, the company that markets the Dnepr, signed a contract at the Berlin Air Show this week for six Dnepr launches carrying what the report described only as "civilian satellites." The first launch under the contract is slated for 2006 with the following five planned at intervals of seven to eight months apart. The Dnepr is a converted SS-18 ICBM that has flown three space missions to date, with a fourth planned for mid-2004. Neither Kosmotras nor Bigelow have officially announced the contract on their web sites. Last week Bigelow signed a contract to fly on the first mission of SpaceX's Falcon 5 booster, a medium-class booster similar in performance to the Dnepr. That flight is scheduled to carry Genesis Pathfinder, reportedly a test mission to demonstrate Bigelow’s technology for inflatable orbital modules.
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