Among the payload, the rocket launches satellites from 18 countries into orbits: Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Holland, Italy, Britain, Spain and so on.
The Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle, which changed its color scheme from gray-orange to white-blue, took off from the Baikonur cosmodrome. The broadcast is being conducted on the Roscosmos website.
“The lift contact has passed,” said the announcer. This means that the separation of the rocket from the launch pad is fixed.
The launch was planned for March 20, but it was postponed for two days. According to RIA Novosti sources in the rocket and space industry, the reason was a voltage surge in the power supply system of the launch complex and the need to re-check the rocket systems.
At 09:17 Moscow time, the Fregat upper stage with 38 satellites from 18 countries separated from the third stage of the rocket. First, it will deliver the South Korean Earth observation satellite CAS500-1 to the target orbit, for which it will perform two starts of the propulsion system. At 10:10 Moscow time, the satellite normally separated from the upper stage and entered orbit.
Then the “Fregat” turned on its engines two more times, from 11:35 to 11:37 Moscow time four Japanese GRUS satellites should separate from it.
After two more engine starts from 13:13 to 13:53 Moscow time, the separation of the remaining 33 vehicles is expected: South Korean KMSL, Pumbaa and Timon, Japanese ELSA-d, NAJM-1 and KSU CubeSat from Saudi Arabia, DMSAT-1 from the UAE, three Israeli ADELIS-SAMSON, two Canadian Kepler, Brazilian NANOSATC-BR2, four German Beesat, Dutch Hiber-3, Italian SIMBA and Unisat-7 (inside it there will be Unicorn-1 devices from Germany, Argentine DIY-1, Italian FEES and STECCO, Hungarian SMOG-1 and Thai BCCSAT-1), Russian CubeSX-HSE, CubeSX-Sirius-HSE and OrbiCraft-Zorkiy, Slovak GRBAlpha, British LacunaSat-2B, Spanish 3B5GSAT and Tunisian Challenge One.
All in white
For this launch, the Soyuz rocket was repainted: instead of the traditional gray and orange, it appeared in white and blue. Prior to that, in the entire history of flights since 1966 (1087 launches of all modifications), Soyuz was repainted only once – in July 1975 to launch a manned spacecraft with cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Valery Kubasov under the Soyuz-Apollo program. Then the rocket turned white.
As the press service of the company – the operator of the launch “Glavkosmos launch services”, said, the model for the new coloring was the mock-up of the “Vostok” rocket, which is located at VDNKh. The first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took off on such a rocket 60 years ago.
This launch marks the fourth Russian space launch since the beginning of the year. In total, this year, according to Dmitry Rogozin, general director of Roscosmos, 29 launches are planned.
And for Glavkosmos Launch Services, which Roskosmos has authorized to conclude contracts for launching spacecraft from Russian cosmodromes, this is the first commercial launch. The second is planned for 2022 – then the South Korean satellite CAS500-2 should be launched.