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    New remote-sensing satellite to fight terrorism

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    MOSCOW, July 1 (RIA Novosti) - The Khrunichev Spacecraft Center, a leading space-sector enterprise and the largest defense-industry company, announced Thursday that it had developed an optical remote-sensing satellite.

    Today's issue of Vedomosti, an authoritative business daily, reported that the Monitor-E, which is scheduled to be launched on August 18, would both search for mineral deposits and conduct counter-terrorist operations.

    The 750-kilogram satellite, which features two cameras with a resolution of eight and 20 meters, will be out into orbit by a Rokot light launch vehicle. The Monitor-E is currently being taken to the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia inside a special container.

    Alexander Medvedev, the deputy general director of the Khrunichev Center, said that a mission control center was currently being completed.

    Many Russian organizations need this satellite. For example, officials in the Natural Resources Ministry said the body would use it to identify new mineral deposits, monitor environmental-pollution levels, prevent fires and pinpoint tree-felling areas. They added that Russia currently had to buy these photographs from foreigners.

    Konstantin Kreidenko, a spokesman for the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos), which financed the Meteor-E project, told the newspaper that the Agency had asked state organizations about the data they needed and the Khrunichev Center used the data to develop the satellite. He also said the Monitor-E could be used to combat terrorism.

    Roskosmos will relay 70% of the satellite's data to state organizations, and the Khrunichev Center will use the remaining 30% for commercial purposes.

    Experts said the Center would sell Monitor-E data to customers in the Commonwealth of Independent States, and major companies that need to make thorough studies of construction sites.

    The R&D project cost an estimated $100-140 million, including launch expenses. The Khrunichev Center plans to launch six more remote-sensing satellites in the future to create a remote-sensing system, which it says will cost about $1 billion.

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