SpaceNews: Soyuz launches 73 satellites
After today’s (July 14, 09:36 Moscow time) Soyuz-2.1a lift-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with an Earth observation Kanopus-V-IK satellite and 72 smallsats aboard, the mission on satellite delivering to their target orbits is successfully accomplished.
The duration of the mission brought to life with participation of Glavkosmos, an operator of the commercial launches, was 8.5 hours. Three sun-synchronous orbits were formed in the process of ascent: 515km for Kanopus-V-IK SC, 600km for a cluster of 24 smallsats, and 475km for 48 Dove smallsats (Flock-2k).
At present, all the satellites have been orbited as aimed at and are under customers’ control. Upon separation of the satellites, the Fregat upper stage was deorbited and sunk in the Indian Ocean.
Such complicated mission profile for a large number of payloads to be put into several orbits has been designed and implemented for the first time in the world practice. The new successful experience allows Glavkosmos to expand the SC launch offers for foreign customers. The success of such a challenging launch mission proves a high reliability of the Soyuz-2/Fregat system while the multi-cluster format provides cost efficiency and benefits to the customers. Glavkosmos expects two more missions for smallsat launching from the Russian spaceports in 2017.