France To Launch 50 Nanosatellites
The French company Arianespace said it will launch a cluster of 50 tiny satellites in 2007 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sputnik. Each nanosatellite will weigh only about 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) and contain a scientific package developed by a single country.
All 50 of the nanosats will be launched at the same time, on one rocket, from the launch facility in French Guyana. The nanosats will last in orbit for about 2 years, company officials said Wednesday.
The company announced the proposed launch during this year's International Astronautical Federation Congress. The project will be conducted in partnership with the Russian Space Agency, which will be commemorating Sputnik's launch in October 1957.
Arianespace is very proud to be participating in this commemoration, said Jean-Yves Le Gall, the company's chief executive officer. We have already orbited some 40 auxiliary payloads of the same type we will launch in 2007. Just like 50 years ago, when the first man-made Earth satellite was launched, these nanosatellites will signal a new era for scientists worldwide.
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