Launch Services

April 2019

Commercial Space Technologies Ltd. (CST) provides services for the brokerage, management, and organisation of former Soviet (FSU) launches. Launcher brokerage and launch services are conducted in a straightforward way ‘across the board’, both for piggy-back and dedicated launches, achieving the best possible contractual terms and prices for our customers.

On-the-spot management ensures that CST’s clients are always represented, and when combined with its handling of progress meetings and bureaucratic processes, this ultimately saves them a great deal of time and money.

Contract services include CST’s interpretation and translation skills, as well as its understanding of Russian negotiation styles and business practices, which is vital for support in all technical and programmatic meetings in the lead up to launch.

Insurance and other financial services can also be arranged by CST because of its experience with consultancy work for the financial, legal, and insurance sectors in London and Moscow.

CST LAUNCH SERVICE ADVANTAGES

Many common problems can be avoided by using the experienced CST Russian team:

  • The vital step of negotiating the launch services agreement is handled firmly and in an optimum way by CST since it has a friendly working relationship with all Russian launch providers;
  • Customs clearance and transportation of satellite and equipment to cosmodrome;
  • Payment stages: CST can negotiate a better payment spread, together with more easy transferral terms than usually asked and also arrange for work to begin when the money leaves the client’s bank;
  • Launch price negotiations: CST has often negotiated worthwhile reductions on the last ‘firm’ offer to the customer;
  • Logistics of staying in Baikonur or Plesetsk for launch preparation are taken care of;
  • Translation, interpretation and escort services are arranged by CST;
  • Compromises are needed at all stages of launch negotiations by both parties and, as ‘two-way cultural interpreters,’ we are able to see that both sides are best and optimally served;

A typical CST launch contract will divide the work into 4 stages:

Stage 1: Location of suitable launch options, preliminary price negotiations, report to customer

Stage 2: Construction of Launch Services Agreement (LSA)

Stage 3: Management of LSA through ICD, fit check and other meetings

Stage 4: Management of launch campaign up to the integration of payload with a launcher

Each stage is a fixed price, up until the completion of stage 4, from which point a daily rate is charged until the end of the campaign. Expenses (e.g. travel to a customer) are always modest and agreed beforehand. Historically, stages 1 and 2 have saved customers more than the total CST fees. The contract can be abandoned after stage 1 if no launch is found.

CST has experience of launch brokerage with a wide variety of vehicles – particularly to LEO – including Tsyklon, Zenit, Cosmos, Dnepr, Shtil, and more, with additional launchers entering the market soon. All vehicles can piggy-back via the use of multiple payload carriers, and nearly all orbits are available. By careful brokerage using opportunities and experience, very competitive prices are achieved. [Click here] to view our launch brokering history.

With a variety of customers on hand and in negotiation, as well as an internal knowledge of ongoing arrangements, CST can co-ordinate a fit with other satellites in shared or cluster launches. If customers, at extra cost, wish to have the chief satellite position in the cluster, thus ensuring their required orbit and time of launch, then CST can help ensure the required number of other satellites to enable the mission to take place.

Using its long association with launch providers and its experience in the field, CST can negotiate the best terms with any launch provider. Very good terms can be arranged for launches that are designated as tests, training exercises or promotional ventures. The additional technical risks for the launches can be very low – they will be insurable, and CST can advise on this for each specific case. CST can also negotiate ‘guest’ payloads to enable the defrayment of costs.