Russia’s federal space agency Roscosmos recently launched its first commercial launch on a Soyuz-2.1, a vehicle from Baikonur. This mission will deliver a cluster of satellites to orbit; one of the satellites includes South Korea’s CAS500-1. Soyuz lifted off from Site 31/6 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on Monday, 22 March at 06:07 UTC.
This marks the very first time that GK was responsible for a dedicated launch. It should be mentioned that GK Launch Services is a joint venture of Glavkosmos, a commercial arena of Roscosmos, and ISC Kosmotras. In all, the Soyuz flight carried 38 satellites in a variety of sizes, ranging from 500 kg microsatellites to .25U CubeSats and 1P PocketQubes.
Apart from the South Korean CAS500-1, the rocket will also launch into orbit the Japanese apparatus for removing “space debris” ELSA-d, the Japanese GRUS series remote sensing satellites, the small Saudi Arabian satellite for imaging the Earth and providing communications NAJM-1, communication satellites of the Technical University of Berlin, a satellite of the Higher School of Economics – ERS, a CubeSat of the Sirius Educational Center and the Higher School of Economics, and the Orbicraft – Zorkiy satellite from the Russian private space company Sputniks.
This is not the first time that Roscosmos tried launching this fleet of satellites. The launch was initially supposed to take place on March 20; however, that did not materialize and was postponed for technical reasons. Later, the reason behind the postponement was cited as a problem in the ground support equipment of the upper stage. The second launch was successful.
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After the Soyuz-2.1a vehicle took flight, the separation of the orbital block from the third stage of the Soyuz took place in normal mode. After this stage, the Fregat upper stage will be launching the above-mentioned 38 vehicles into three sun-synchronous orbits.