( RIA Novosti ) - Ukraine is planning to launch a Sich-2 Earth remote sensing satellite into orbit in 2008, the National Space Agency said on its web site.
The former Soviet republic has been conducting space activities since 1993 "for the benefit of the national economy and state security as well as to be able to break into the international space services market."
The development of a "Sich"-based Earth observation system and a crisis-proof space monitoring system is part of The National Space Program of Ukraine for 2007-2011, the agency said.
Ukraine launched its first earth remote sensing satellite, Sich- 1, in 1995, and its modernized version, Sich-1M, in 2004.
The Sich-2 project is being developed by Ukraine's Yuzhnoye design bureau with an estimated cost of $20 million.
The spacecraft will be launched on board a Russian-Ukrainian Dnepr carrier rocket from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.
The launch services will be provided by Kosmotras, a Russian-Ukrainian joint venture, which converts RS-20 (SS-18 Satan) intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), scrapped by Russia's Strategic Missile Forces, into Dnepr launch vehicles.
The latest Dnepr mission put Germany's TerraSAR-X Earth remote sensing satellite in orbit on June 15.