HOUSTON — A representative of the U.S. satellite industry said Friday that the Soviet Union may be paid to launch American satellites into space as early as next year.
Arthur Dula, who heads Space Commerce Corp. and is acting as an intermediary between the Soviets and American satellite companies, said he hopes to begin putting American satellites on Russian launch vehicles by the end of 1988.
"It's embarrassing to have to launch an American satellite on a Soviet launch vehicle, but if we need to help the American commercial satellite industry when we have a lack of capacity, we should look at the pros and cons and do what's best for the American industry," Dula said.
"If that means launching on a Soviet vehicle, that's what we should do."
Dula met with a delegation of Soviet space officials Friday in Houston and termed the discussions "quite successful."
The Soviet delegation, which included members of Glavkosmos, the Soviet civilian space agency, is seeking to gain some of the multimillion-dollar U.S. satellite launch business.
U.S. satellites have been grounded since President Reagan's decision last year to remove commercial payloads from NASA flights. That order came after the January, 1986, explosion of the shuttle Challenger and the death of its crew.