Within the frameworks of implementation of the strategy to develop commercial potential of the Russian space industry and in accordance with ROSCOSMOS decision, in April 2017, Joint Stock Company GLAVKOSMOS (GLAVKOSMOS, a part of State Space Corporation ROSCOSMOS) and Limited Liability Company INTERNATIONAL SPACE COMPANY KOSMOTRAS (KOSMOTRAS) established a Joint Stock Company “GK LAUNCH SERVICES”. This new Russian entity will become an operator of commercial launch services for satellites with the use of Soyuz family launch vehicles and the launchers developed on the basis of RS-20 rockets from the Russian launch sites. GLAVKOSMOS owns 75% and KOSMOTRAS – 25% of the new company’s stock.
Establishment of GK LAUNCH SERVICES is driven by new challenges on the launch services market, and creates a new level of public-private partnership for business in space domain. Combined efforts of GLAVKOSMOS and KOSMOTRAS will give an impetus to the promotion of Russian launch vehicles on the international market. Bringing together unique expertise and resources of the two companies will significantly expand a scope of the launch services offered and thus enable orbital injection of various types of spacecraft with the mass ranging from 1 kg to 6 metric tons into the most popular orbits. This also meets an increasing demand in the segment of commercial space projects dealing with development and launch of small class satellite constellations and individual spacecraft.
According to Alexander Serkin, CEO of GK LAUNCH SERVICES, creation of a dedicated company will facilitate strengthening the positions of Russia on the international market and increase the workload of the Russian launch sites. The GLAVKOSMOS and KOSMOTRAS cooperation will enhance competiveness of products and services of the Russian space industry, first of all, through optimization of launch costs and shorter timelines of the launch projects implementation.
JSC GLAVKOSMOS is an enterprise of ROSCOSMOS State Space Corporation (the only shareholder) with the key objectives to promote the Russian space industry capabilities on the world market and to manage challenging space projects. During more than 30 years of its history, GLAVKOSMOS has successfully implemented 120 international contracts. Launches of more than 20 small satellites have been carried out since 2012. In 2017, the company plans to launch more than 100 small satellites for 15 foreign and Russian customers under the existing contracts. GLAVKOSMOS is an operator of Soyuz-2 commercial launches and a coordinator of ROSCOSMOS international projects. Spacecraft for the following customers have been launched on Soyuz-2 launch vehicles to date: Skybox Imaging, Norwegian Space Center, UTIAS SFL, SSTL, UK Space Agency, and DLR.
The company’s wide range of activities includes integrated solutions in creating satellite systems of various applications, turnkey solutions for Earth observation, telecommunications, space research and exploration, provision of Earth observation data from the Russian satellite constellation, as well as export of Russian space equipment. It is also responsible for coordination of Russian enterprises activities for Soyuz-ST commercial launches in the Guiana Space Center. Among partners and customers of GLAVKOSMOS are NASA, Arianespace, Great Wall China and other private companies, as well as Russian and European universities.
INTERNATIONAL SPACE COMPANY KOSMOTRAS LLC (a Joint Stock Company until August 2016; from then on - a Limited Liability Company) was established in 1997 under the Russian law. The company’s head office is located in Moscow, Russia. KOSMOTRAS is a launch service provider offering launches of converted RS-20 rockets on international and domestic markets. The rocket is capable of delivering payloads with the mass of up to 2 metric tons into LEO. These payloads are launched either in dedicated missions or as part of cluster (multiple small satellites) launches. Since the inaugural mission in April 1999, KOSMOTRAS has carried out 22 commercial launches lofting 128 payloads into orbit for 37 customers from 28 countries. Among KOSMOTRAS’ customers are major aerospace companies and space agencies such as ESA, CNES, JAXA, KARI, EIAST, KACST, NEC, Airbus Defence and Space, MDA, SSTL, SSC, as well as universities and private companies.