BelKA (an acronym from Belarusian: Беларускі Касьмічны Апарат, Belarusian Cosmic Apparatus) was intended to be the first satellite of independent Belarus.

It was a remote sensing satellite that utilizes the Victoria universal satellite bus, developed by Belarusian researchers and Russian Rocket and Space Corporation Energiya for National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus as the final customer of the satellite, which had the capacity to take photos of the Earth surface, with a maximum resolution of 2-2.5 meters.

An attempt to launch 18 satellites of this type was made on July 26 2006 at 19:45 GMT, but they were destroyed when the Dnepr rocket suffered an engine failure and crashed, 86 seconds after launch.

The name BelKA is thought to be an allusion to the dog, Belka, who, together with Strelka orbited the Earth and returned safely on Sputnik 5 in 1960.


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