Soyuz-2.1b Launch Vehicle with 34 OneWeb Satellites Installed on Launch Pad at Baikonur

Soyuz rocket with OneWeb satellites aboard. (Credit: Yuzhny/Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — The Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with the Fregat upper stage and 34 OneWeb communications satellites was rolled out from the Assembly and Test Facility on Monday. The launch vehicle was installed on the launch pad of the Baikonur Сosmodrome, the launch is scheduled for Thursday, August 19, at 22:23 UTC.

Pre-launch activities are carried out under the contracts of Glavkosmos (a subsidiary of Roscosmos) with the European launch services provider Arianespace (the company operates launches of OneWeb spacecraft with the use of the Soyuz launch vehicle), and the company Starsem. The joint team of the foreign customers and the representatives of Roscosmos enterprises: Progress Space Rocket Center, Lavochkin Association, TsENKI and Glavkosmos, is carrying out these works.

Currently, the specialists at the spaceport are performing the technical operations. The pre-launch tests of the Soyuz-2.1b systems are being conducted, and the interfaces between the on-board instruments and ground equipment are being checked.

Now, the fleet of the OneWeb satellites in the low Earth orbit amounts to 254 spacecraft, and hundreds more are to be launched. The upcoming launch should bring the number of OneWeb spacecraft in orbit to 288. OneWeb low Earth orbit satellites are designed to provide consumers on the ground with high-speed Internet.

Scrubbed Soyuz Launch Rescheduled for Monday

Soyuz 2 rocket on the launch pad.

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — At the Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 20, 2021, a meeting of the commission was held, during which the results of tests of the Soyuz-2.1a space rocket were considered after a technical malfunction revealed this morning. After hearing the reports of the work supervisors, the members of the commission decided to launch the launch on the morning of Monday, March 22, 2021.

Dmitry Rogozin, General Director of the State Corporation Roscosmos : “At Baikonur, the State Commission decided to repeat on March 21 the checks of the Launch Readiness Control Set (LCC) mode of the Fregat upper stage. If the results of the KNSG regime are positive, the launch is scheduled for Monday, March 22.”

As part of the first commercial launch of the Glavkosmos Launch Services, the South Korean spacecraft for remote sensing of the Earth CAS500-1, the apparatus for removing space debris ELSA-d and satellites for remote sensing of the Earth GRUS from Japan, a small spacecraft of Saudi Arabia for Earth imaging and communications NAJM-1, communications satellites of the Technical University of Berlin.

In addition, the Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle with the Fregat upper stage will launch the first satellite of the Higher School of Economics ERS, the CubeSat of the Sirius Educational Center and the Higher School of Economics, as well as the Orbikraft-Zorky satellite of the Russian company Sputniks and others. A total of 38 spacecraft from 18 countries will be launched into orbit.

Russia Launches Arktika-M Meteorological Satellite to Monitor the Arctic

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — This morning, February 28, 2021 at 09:55:01 Moscow time, a successful launch of the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Fregat upper stage and the Arktika-M spacecraft took place from the launch pad No. 31 of the Baikonur cosmodrome No. 1 on board. After 562 seconds, according to the processed telemetry information, the upper stage and payload separated from the third stage of the carrier in the normal mode.

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Exolaunch & Glavkosmos Announce Soyuz Launch Campaign for 15 Small Satellites

Rideshare mission (Credit: Exolaunch)

Exolaunch’s small satellite cluster of 15 microsatellites and cubesats ,“Wanderlust, Desire To Travel”, will launch on Soyuz as soon as September 2020.

Berlin, August 17th, 2020 – Exolaunch, a Berlin-based rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, and Glavkosmos, a single operator of foreign commercial activities of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos, have initiated a launch campaign for 15 international small satellites onboard a Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with a Fregat upper stage. As soon as September 2020, Soyuz-2 will deliver a cluster of small satellites into orbit as rideshare payloads on a Roscosmos mission.

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Soyuz Booster Launches Glonass-M Navigation Satellite

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On March 16, 2020, at 18:28 UTC a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket equipped with a Fregat booster manufactured by NPO Lavochkin (part of Roscosmos) launched successfully from Plesetsk cosmodrome carrying a Glonass-M navigational satellite manufactured by ISS Reshetnev company. The satellite separated routinely from the booster after three Fregat booster service propulsion unit burns.

Glonass-M satellites make up the base of the GLONASS system orbital group. They transmit navigational information and time data to the ground, maritime, air and space customers.

Fregat booster ensures injecting one or several spacecraft into Earth’s orbit or into deep space. The whole injection process is carried out autonomously. A highest reliability and almost ideal injection accuracy make the booster unmatched by the world’s competitors. This launch was the 80th for the booster.

Russia Launches Glonass-M Navigation Satellite

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Today, December 11, 2019, at 11:54 Moscow time, the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with the Fregat upper stage successfully launched a Glonass-M navigation satellite from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.

Separation of the satellite from the Fregat took place normally after three firings of the main engine of the upper stage. 

Glonass-M satellites form the basis of the orbital constellation of the GLONASS system. They provide navigation information and accurate time signals to land, sea, air and space consumers.

Russians Go 12 Months Without Launch Failure

A Proton takes a nose dive at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: Tsenki TV)

It’s been a long road, getting from there to here….

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Russian space program reached a milestone last week: for the first time in nearly a decade, it went a full 12 months — 365 days — without a single partial or complete launch failure.

On Oct. 11 the program passed the one-year anniversary of the Soyuz MS-10 in-flight abort that sent NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin on a wild ballistic ride. Neither one was injured; both later flew to the International Space Station.

The last time Russia went more than one year between launch failures was a 14-month stretch between March 14, 2008 and May 21, 2009.

The last calendar year in which the Russian space program had a clean sheet was in 2003. They have 76 days left in 2019 to equal that feat.

The table below shows the program’s 22 failures and six partial failure over the past 15 years.

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GK Launch Services, ISL Team Up for Commercial SSO CubeSat Launch

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — GK Launch Services (“GK”) and Innovative Space Logistics (“ISL”) have teamed up for launching CubeSats on GK’s first commercial SSO mission from Q2 2020 that will fly from Baikonur Cosmodrome. 

The objective of this joint service is to address the need of the current CubeSat market for reliable launch solutions at a highly cost-effective pricepoint, supported by a team with unique experience.

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Arianespace’s Latest Soyuz Success Marks Completion of Initial O3b Satellite Constellation

Soyuz launches three O3b satellites on April 4, 2019. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — With a successful Soyuz launch that completed the first phase of SES’ O3b constellation, Arianespace today reaffirmed is ability to support the growing global market for such in-orbit satellite systems.

Lifting off mid-day from the Spaceport in French Guiana, the workhorse launch vehicle delivered the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th O3b satellites into a circular orbit during a flight lasting 2 hours and 22 minutes until final separation. Total payload lift performance was estimated at 3,198 kg.

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Soyuz Launches Egyptsat-A Satellite From Baikonur

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — Today, February 21, 2019, from the Baikonur cosmodrome at 19:47 Moscow time, the launch vehicle Soyuz-2 with the Fregat accelerating unit (RB) and the satellite Egyptsat-A, created in the interests of the Arab Republic of Egypt, was launched.

After the separation of the head unit from the third stage of the carrier rocket RB “Frigate” continued the removal of the spacecraft. The separation of the satellite from the upper stage took place normally after two inclusions of the marching propulsion system in strict accordance with the flight sequence chart.

The Egyptsat-A spacecraft is designed to capture the earth’s surface with high spatial resolution. After the flight test program has been completed, the satellite will be transferred to the Egyptian side.

Translated from Russian using Google Translate.

Editor’s Note: There are reliable Twitter reports that the third stage of the Soyuz-2 booster under performed. The Frigate(Fregate)  stage fired longer to place the satellite into its intended orbit. It’s not clear if the anomaly will impact upcoming launches of OneWeb satellites or crews and supplies to the International Space Station.

I will update this story when more is known.











Kanopus-B ERS Satellites Deployed to Operational Orbit

Soyuz launch from Vostochny Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2018. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Today, on 27 December 2018, at 5:07 am Moscow time, Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with Fregat booster and Earth remote sensing (ERS) satellite vehicles №5 and №6 of the Kanopus-B series was successfully launched from the launch pad of the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

In accordance with the launch sequence, following two impulses of the service propulsion system of Fregat booster, satellite vehicle Kanopus-B №5 and satellite vehicle Kanopus-B №6 were routinely detached from the booster at 6:06 am and 6:12 am Moscow time respectively.

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Russian Launch Failures Aren’t a Bug, They’re a Feature

A Proton takes a nose dive at Baikonur. (Credit: Tsenki TV)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Edior

Over the past few years, I’ve been keeping track of Russia’s annual launch failures. For reasons I can’t quite recall, the table I’ve used only went back to 2009.

Recently, I saw a graphic on a Russian website about launch failures, and I realized I hadn’t gone back far enough. So, I dug into the records of the last 30 years from 1988 through 2017, which covers Russia and the last four years of the Soviet Union.

And holy crap! There were a helluva lot of them. Launch failures are not a bug in the system, they’re a feature.

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Falcon 9 Flight to Kick Off Busy Launch Period

Falcon 9 on the launch pad with Intelsat 35e satellite. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

UPDATE: SpaceX has scrubbed for the day due to the need to replace a sensor on the second stage. The next launch window is Wednesday, Jan. 31.
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A SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scheduled for late this afternoon will kick off a busy period of international launches that will see the inaugural launch of the Falcon Heavy and China’s sixth orbital mission of 2018. SpaceX has four flights scheduled by the middle of February. (Thanks to Spaceflight Now for the schedule.)

Jan. 30

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: GovSat 1
Launch Window: 4:25-6:46 p.m. EST (2125-2346 GMT)
Launch Site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

The Orbital ATK-built satellite will provide secure communications as part of the nation’s contribution to NATO. There will be no attempt to recover the Falcon 9’s first stage.

Jan. 31/Feb. 1

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 2-1a with Fregat upper stage
Payload: Kanopus-V 3 & V4
Launch Time: 9:07:18 p.m. EST Jan. 31 (0207:18 GMT on Feb. 1)
Launch Site: Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia

The twin satellites will assist Russia in mapping, forest fire detection and disaster response.

Feb. 1

Launch Vehicle: Long March 2D
Payload: CSES
Launch Time: TBD
Launch Site: Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China

The China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite will study how electromagnetic signals in Earth’s atmosphere and ionosphere to determine if they can help predict earthquakes. This joint mission with Italy will be China’s sixth launch of 2018.

Feb. 3

Launch Vehicle: SS-520-5
Payload: TRICOM 1R CubeSat
Launch Window: 12:00-12:20 a.m. EST (0500-0520 GMT)
Launch Site: Uchinoura Space Center, Japan

The second launch of Japan’s upgraded sounding rocket will carry the 3U TRICOM 1R CubeSat, which has an imaging camera and store and forward communications system.

Feb. 6

Launch Vehicle: Falcon Heavy
Payload: Tesla Roadster
Launch Window: 1:30-4:30 p.m. EST (1830-2130 GMT)
Launch Site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

The inaugural flight of the Falcon Heavy will send a red Tesla Roadster into deep space.

Feb. 10

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: Paz
Launch Time: 9:22 a.m. EST; 6:22 a.m. PST (1422 GMT)
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

Built by Airbus Defense and Space, Hisdesat’s Paz satellite will provide radar imaging as well ship tracking and weather data. The flight will use a previously-flown first stage.

Feb. 11

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz
Payload: Progress 69P
Launch Time: 3:58 a.m. EST (0858 GMT)
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

Resupply mission to the International Space Station.

Feb. 14

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: Hispasat 30W-6
Launch Window: TBA
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

The Hispasat 30W-6 satellite, built by Space Systems/Loral, will provide communications services over Europe, North Africa and the Americas.











Russia Launches Soyuz Booster from Plesetsk

Russia successfully launched a Lotos electronic intelligence spy satellite aboard a Soyuz-2.1b booster on Saturday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.

The flight came four days after the failure of a similar Soyuz-2.1b launched from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. The launch from Plesetsk did not use the Fregat upper stage blamed for the failure on Tuesday.

Officials believe the Fregat upper stage was not properly programmed for a launch from Vostochny. The programming error caused the Fregat to send a Russian weather satellite and 18 secondary payloads into the Atlantic Ocean.











Rogozin Bemoans Uncompetitive Russian Space Industry Amid Continued Anomalies

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has bluntly declared that the Russian space industry is uncompetitive with its American counterparts except in the crucial area of rocket engine development.

The harsh comments by Rogozin, who oversees the space and defense sectors, come amid continued quality control problems that affected two recent launches and a review of Roscosmos ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

Rogozin was unusually candid in his negative assessment of his nation’s space program.

“Our space industry has fallen behind the Americans ninefold. All of our ambitious projects require us to up productivity 150 percent – and even if we manage that, we will still never catch up with them,” Rogozin originally said to Interfax Friday.
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