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    RUSSIAN ROCKETS TO GET FRENCH FUEL IN KOUROU

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 5 (RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT ALEXANDER KOVALYOV) - Russia's Soyuz-ST launch vehicles will be filled with French fuel, before lifting off from the Kourou space center, a Russian Aerospace Agency representative, who is directly involved in a project aiming to launch Russian rockets from French Guiana, told RIA Novosti.

    This was done in order to expedite all pre-launch operations to the greatest possible extent, the source explained.

    In his words, the Kourou space center, which launches Ariane rockets on a regular basis, produces all rocket-propellant components.

    The factory obtains atmospheric oxygen, subsequently producing 8,000 liters of liquid oxygen every day. That same enterprise can turn out up to 40,000 liters of liquid nitrogen, the expert said.

    The entire local infrastructure caters to Ariane launches; consequently, there is no need to invent something new for refueling our Soyuz rockets, the expert added.

    The Kourou space center, which stretches 30 km along the French Guiana's Atlantic coast, is located five degrees north of the Equator.

    The Kourou space center is ideally suited for placing satellites into low equatorial and geosynchronous orbits because any rocket lifting off from Kourou utilizes the planet-rotation effect to the greatest possible extent, thus achieving an additional velocity of almost 1,600 kph, the source noted.

    This space center belongs to France's CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) space agency. The European Space Agency (ESA) launches most of its satellites from Kourou; the same can be said about most commercial satellites blasting off atop Ariane rockets.

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