Soyuz rocket lifts off with 73 satellites – Spaceflight Now

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Updated at 0830 GMT (four:30 a.m. EDT) with Kanopus-V-IK separation

A Russian Soyuz booster lifted off Friday from Kazakhstan on a posh mission to deploy 73 satellites into three totally different orbits, together with a Russian spacecraft to find forest fires, 48 CubeSats for Planet’s international Earth statement fleet, and eight nanosatellites for Spire Global’s business climate community.

The Soyuz-2.1a rocket fired into area at 0636:49 GMT (2:36:49 a.m. EDT; 12:36:49 p.m. Kazakh time) from Launch Pad No. 31 on the Baikonur Cosmodome in Kazakhstan.

Heading north from the Central Asia area base, the Soyuz shed its 4 strap-on rocket engines lower than two minutes after liftoff, adopted by the discharge of the rocket’s core stage and bulbous nostril fairing.

The Soyuz third stage’s RD-0110 engine shut down simply earlier than the 9-minute level of the mission, in response to updates offered by a reside webcast of the launch. A Fregat higher stage ignited for the primary of seven foremost engine firings to ship the launcher’s 73 satellite tv for pc passengers into three distinct orbits a number of hundred miles above Earth.

A stay video stream of the flight offered by the Russian state area company — Roscosmos — ended round 10 minutes after liftoff.

The Fregat engine was programmed to fireside seven occasions, climbing into orbit to launch a Russian Earth statement satellite tv for pc about one hour after liftoff, then shifting to a better altitude for separation of 24 extra spacecraft. Then the Fregat will descend for deployment of 48 Earth-imaging satellites owned by Planet, a San Francisco-based firm.

The remaining Fregat engine firing will steer the stage again by way of Earth’s environment, the place it’s going to fritter away over the Indian Ocean.

Here is a timeline of the mission launched by Roscosmos:

  • T+00:00:00 — Liftoff
  • T+00:01:57  — Separation of Soyuz first stage boosters
  • T+00:04:47 — Separation of Soyuz second stage (core stage); Ignition of third stage
  • T+00:04:49 — Separation of Soyuz payload fairing
  • T+00:08:48 — Third stage shutdown; Fregat separation on suborbital trajectory
  • T+00:08:53 — First Fregat ignition
  • T+00:15:29  — First Fregat shutdown to enter parking orbit
  • T+00:58:12  — Second Fregat ignition
  • T+00:59:38 — Second Fregat shutdown; Injection into 297.four x 324.7 mile (478.6 x 522.5 kilometer) orbit inclined 97.44 levels to the equator
  • T+01:01:08  — Kanopus-V-IK separation
  • T+01:36:40  — Third Fregat ignition
  • T+01:37:46  — Third Fregat shutdown
  • T+02:22:40 — Fourth Fregat ignition
  • T+02:22:46 — Fourth Fregat shutdown; Injection into an roughly 370 x 373 mile (595 x 601 kilometer) orbit inclined 97.61 levels to the equator
  • T+02:24:54 – T+02:28:14 — Separation of Flying Laptop, TechnoSat, WNISAT 1R, Norsat 1, Norsat 2
  • T+02:33:14 – T+02:49:54 — Separation of 5 Russian CubeSats, eight Lemur 2 CubeSats, three CICERO CubeSats, two Landmapper-BC CubeSats, and NanoACE into an roughly 362 x 375 mile (584 x 604 kilometer) orbit inclined 97.61 levels
  • T+03:15:00 — Fifth Fregat ignition
  • T+03:16:26 — Fifth Fregat shutdown
  • T+03:57:50 — Sixth Fregat ignition
  • T+03:59:02 — Sixth Fregat shutdown: Injection into orbit with an perigee, or low level, between 279.9 and 299.6 miles (450.5 and 482.2 kilometers), an apogee, or excessive level between 296.6 and 301.three miles (477.four and 485 kilometers), and an inclination of 97 levels
  • T+07:41:34 – T+08:04:28 — Separation of Planet’s 48 Dove CubeSats
  • T+08:15:00 — Seventh Fregat ignition (start de-orbit burn)
  • T+08:16:56 — Seventh Fregat shutdown (finish de-orbit burn)
  • T+08:42:00 — Fregat’s damaging re-entry over Indian Ocean

Friday’s launch will deploy modified CubeSats from 5 California-based corporations, two scholar-constructed German satellites, two Norwegian maritime monitoring and communications satellites, a business Japanese microsatellite to map Arctic sea ice, two Earth-imaging CubeSats for Roscosmos, and three nanosatellites developed by Russian college students.

The largest payload launched Friday is known as Kanopus-V-IK, a Russian authorities satellite tv for pc outfitted with Earth-viewing cameras to map the planet in colour to assist emergency responders, crop managers and environmental scientists. The Kanopus-V-IK satellite tv for pc, which weighs greater than a half-ton (roughly 500 kilograms) and is owned by Roscosmos, additionally carries an infrared sensor to detect and localize the supply of wildfires.

Roscosmos confirmed on Twitter that the Kanopus-V-IK satellite tv for pc separated from the Fregat higher stage as scheduled throughout Friday’s launch.

The different 72 satellites stowed aboard the Soyuz rocket ranged from shoebox- and briefcase-sized CubeSats as much as 265 kilos (120 kilograms).

Planet, proprietor of greater than 100 Dove CubeSats at present wanting down on Earth, will add 48 extra spacecraft to its fleet with Friday’s launch to assist the corporate gather imagery to supply day by day international maps.

Eight Lemur CubeSats from Spire Global, one other San Francisco firm, blasted off in help of climate forecasters, deriving humidity and temperature profiles by measuring GPS navigation alerts that move by way of Earth’s environment.

With Friday’s launch, Spire has despatched 49 CubeSats into orbit, however not all of them stay operational.

A competitor of Spire, GeoOptics of Pasadena, California, launched three extra of its CICERO CubeSats for business climate forecasting, utilizing the identical GPS radio occultation method because the Lemur satellites. GeoOptics launched its first spacecraft final month on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.


Some of the 73 satellites slated to launch on a Russian Soyuz rocket Friday are pictured earlier than encapsulation contained in the launcher’s payload fairing on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: Glavkosmos

Two Landmapper-BC CubeSats manufactured and owned by Astro Digital, previously Aquila Space, on Friday’s Soyuz flight are the primary members of one other business Earth-imaging constellation. The Landmapper-BC spacecraft, also called Corvus-BC1 and Corvus-BC2, every weigh round 22 kilos (10 kilograms) and have shade and infrared cameras for vast-space imaging.

The different U.S. firm with a payload on Friday’s flight was Tyvak, a launch providers dealer and small satellite tv for pc-builder in Southern California. Tyvak’s experimental 11-pound (5-kilogram) NanoACE CubeSat will check an angle management system, command and knowledge dealing with system, steerage, navigation and management software program and actuators, and visual and infrared cameras.

German college college students constructed two satellites for Friday’s launch, together with the 265-pound (120-kilogram) Flying Laptop spacecraft from the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Space Systems.

The Flying Laptop satellite tv for pc will give college students expertise in mission operations, take footage of Earth and search for near-Earth asteroids, validate the efficiency of a reconfigurable on-board pc, and exhibit a excessive-velocity optical infrared communications hyperlink with a German floor station throughout its deliberate two-yr mission.

“In addition to the innovative OBC (on-board computer) concept, which is used as the payload on-board computer, several other new technologies are part of the system and will be verified for the first time under space conditions, and in addition, the mission carries out scientific Earth observation objectives using a multispectral camera and receives ship signals with an AIS receiver,” stated Sabine Klinkner, venture director for the Flying Laptop mission on the University of Stuttgart.

She stated the Flying Laptop venture was funded by the college’s small satellite tv for pc program, the German state of Baden-Württemberg, and with help from the regional area business. The German Aerospace Center, DLR, paid for the satellite tv for pc’s launch with federal authorities funds, Klinkner wrote in an e-mail to Spaceflight Now.

TechnoSat from the Technical University of Berlin will check new nanosatellite elements, together with a digital camera, a brand new response wheel system, a star tracker, a transmitter, a fluid dynamic actuator, and business laser retro-reflectors. Shaped like an octagonal drum, the TechnoSat satellite tv for pc weighs round 40 kilos (almost 20 kilograms) at launch and is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

An experiment sponsored by DLR aboard TechnoSat will detect strikes of tiny area particles particles on the satellite tv for pc’s photo voltaic panels to assist scientists higher perceive the density of area junk in low Earth orbit too small to be tracked by present radars.

Two Norwegian-owned, Canadian-built microsatellites headed into orbit to trace maritime ship visitors.

The briefcase-sized Norsat 1 spacecraft, billed as Norway’s first scientific satellite tv for pc, additionally carries an instrument developed by the Physical Meteorological Observatory in Switzerland to measure fluctuations in photo voltaic radiation arriving at Earth, a key enter into Earth’s local weather that may assist scientists higher type human contributions to local weather change. A Langmuir probe on Norsat 1 will research the plasma setting in low Earth orbit in the course of the satellite tv for pc’s deliberate three-yr mission.

The Norwegian Space Center — proprietor of the Norsat satellites — rescheduled the launch of Norsat 1 after a defective attachment bracket stored the craft off a Soyuz rocket flight in April 2016. Norsat 1 was already on the Soyuz launch base in French Guiana when engineers determined it might be unsafe so as to add the spacecraft to the mission, which took off with out Norsat 1 with a big European environmental satellite tv for pc.

In addition to its vessel detection receiver, Norsat 2 has a VHF knowledge change radio to assist prolong the vary of ship-to-shore communications.

Both Norsats have been constructed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies Space Flight Laboratory.

The 95-pound (43-kilogram) WNISAT 1R satellite tv for pc developed by two Japanese corporations — Weathernews and Axelspace — is kicking off a marketing campaign to watch sea ice within the Arctic, typhoons and volcanic ash plumes.

Five Russian CubeSats additionally lifted off Friday.

Two of the Russian secondary passengers will take off on Earth-observing missions for Roscosmos, and three others come from Russian universities, together with a joint challenge with Ecuador’s Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial.


Artist’s illustration of the Mayak satellite tv for pc with its photo voltaic reflector unfurled. Credit: Mayak group

The designers of one of many Russian CubeSats, referred to as Mayak, say it might develop into one of many brightest objects within the night time sky. The crowd-funded satellite tv for pc, developed on the Moscow Polytechnic University, will unfurl a 65-square-foot (6-sq.-meter) pyramid-formed photo voltaic reflector coated in an “air-thin” metallic movie. If the experiment works, the tiny satellite tv for pc is perhaps the brighter than the International Space Station or Venus because it sails overhead.

Mayak’s staff says the CubeSat will check out a brand new aerodynamic braking system that would assist clear area particles from orbit.

Friday’s rideshare mission was organized by Glavkosmos, a subsidiary of Roscosmos.

The Dutch firm Innovative Solutions in Space accommodated a lot of the CubeSat payloads inside QuadPack deployers. Seattle-based Spaceflight Services booked area for a number of the U.S.-owned CubeSats.

Glavkosmos goals to promote extra business Soyuz medium-carry missions from Russian-operated launch websites. The firm lists a launch worth of $20 million to $22 million on its web site, a price that could possibly be shared by a number of clients with payloads flying on the identical launcher.

Arianespace works with Glavkosmos on business Soyuz launches from the Guiana Space Center in South America. Glavkosmos says it acts as a major contract integrator for all Russian corporations concerned in Soyuz missions launched from the tropical spaceport in French Guiana.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.



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