Russia intends to launch its first research micro-satellites in 2008, the Federal Space Agency said Monday.

The agency said the Lavochkin research and production center is developing a unified Karat micro-platform for astrophysical, Earth remote sensing and other fundamental research micro-satellites, which will operate for at least five years.

“The platform will be used to build Konus spacecraft for the research of space gamma-ray bursts and solar flares, Mirco Mars for the research of Mars and surrounding space and the placement of various devices in the interests of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The first launch is scheduled for 2008,” the space agency said.

Micro-satellites will be launched as additional payload to heavy spacecraft. The agency said the Karat micro-platform is being developed using existing and already designed onboard systems and devices, which can function in outer space, and may be involved in the implementation of international and commercial programs.

The agency said the Lavochkin center, which is currently developing 25 projects under the federal space program, has designed “almost all the necessary components to create modern micro-satellites with high technical characteristics and equal to foreign analogues.”

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