Monsters and Critics writes about an examination by the government of Kazakhstan of launching satellites using a system called Ishim, which uses their fleet of MiG-31 Foxhound fighters, which they received after the Soviet Union's disintegration. The project is a collaborative effort of the Kazakh government, Moscow's Institute of Heat Engineering and the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau (designers of the MiG).
With modern technology allowing the construction of lightweight satellites, the MiGs could provide a cost-effective launch platform, for low-orbit and remote sensing applications, as opposed to traditional, heavy-duty ground-based rockets.
The plan is to place the aircraft at 9 to 12 miles altitude at hypersonic speed, and then jettison a 10-ton rocket, of 3 or 4 stages, which would then carry the satellite payload into low orbit.
Geospatial, gps, Kazakhstan, mapping, navigation, news, remote sensing, satellite, science, space