In May, 1994, the German firm GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) Potsdam signed a contract with Kayser-Threde GmbH "for the design, construction and launch of a small Earth-Science Research Satellite" (Reference 425). The 20-kg, 20-cm-diameter satellite, called GFZ-1, will be delivered to the Mir space station in 1995 by a Progress-M spacecraft and later released at an altitude of about 400 km. During its natural decay, the passive, spherical satellite equipped with multiple laser reflectors will be used for a variety of geodetic studies. Russian engineers will be responsible for the construction of the satellite, including the laser reflectors. Laser ranging systems in Germany and Cuba will comprise the principal data collection network. GFZ-1 is expected to remain in Earth orbit for up to five years.
425. Geo-Satellite GFZ-1, press release by GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, 1994.