Britain's Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. will soon launch five small imaging satellites in one throw on a Russian Dnepr rocket, scheduled to go up August 29. Germany's RapidEye AG will operate the medium resolution constellation, built in cooperation with Surrey and with Canada's MacDonald Dettwiler, to enhance imaging services available around the globe. Mean orbital altitude is 620km, and the constellation's planned lifespan is seven years.
COMMENT: There will be many fingers crossed, since the Dnepr does not have a perfect record as of late. Nonetheless, I'm always partial to converted Soviet ballistic missiles in general (the Dnepr is modified from the medium-range SS-20), since in my Air Force days of commanding a Titan II ICBM site, I was one of their prime targets. It's a weird sort of connection.