Russia suspends joint Soyuz rocket launch operations in Kourou, French Guiana

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Roscosmos suspends joint Soyuz rocket launch operations from Kourou and withdraws base launch personnel.

Russia is suspending co-operation with Arianespace on launching Soyuz missiles from Guyana Space Center and withdrawing its personnel from the South American launch base due to European Union (EU) sanctions imposed on Russia for invading Ukraine, Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin said.

"There are 87 Russian citizens in French Guiana. We are talking about NPO Lavochkin employees who have prepared for the Fregat-MT upper stage, as well as Progress RCC (Soyuz rocket manufacturer) and TsENKI employees".

The launch of Soyuz rockets in French Guiana is a joint program of the Roscosmos program and the European Space Agency (ESA), which provided Arianespace with a medium-sized launcher to complement the larger Ariane 5 engine and the smaller Vega rocket.

A Soyuz rocket was scheduled to launch a pair of European Galileo navigation satellites on April 5th. There have been 27 Soyuz launches in French Guiana since October 2011.

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