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Arianespace Rocket Will Launch 50 Nanosatellites.

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Arianespace has announced that they will be launching a cluster of 50 nanosatellites in 2007 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first satellite launch of Sputnik in 1957. Each tiny satellite will weigh only 1 kg (2.2 lbs), and contain a scientific package developed by a single country - all 50 will be launched at the same time, on one rocket. The nanosats will last in orbit for about 2 years.

During this year's International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Congress in Vancouver, Canada, Arianespace, the Russian Space Agency with the support of the Russian space industry and IAF, in partnership with the leading space agencies from around the world, are proposing to commemorate the first satellite launch in 1957, by orbiting a cluster of 50 nanosatellites, each representing a different country.

Each nanosat will weigh about one kilogram, and will be dedicated to a scientific experiment under the responsibility of researchers at universities or other organizations. Each nanosat will offer a design life of about two years. All 50 will be launched on a single Arianespace mission.

"Arianespace is very proud to be participating in this commemoration," said Jean-Yves Le Gall, the company's Chief Executive Officer. "Supporting science and research is an integral part of our assigned mission. We have already orbited some 40 auxiliary payloads of the same type we will launch in 2007. Just like 50 years ago, when the first man-made Earth satellite was launched, these nanosatellites will signal a new era for scientists worldwide."

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