Rockot launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome Site 133/3 delivered to orbit ESA Sentinel-5P remote sensing satellite.

Another launch of satellite operating under Copernicus ESA’s Earth observation program. Sentinel-5P is sixth Sentinel spacecraft launched in the history of Copernicus program and second after Sentinel-2B launched in 2017.

Sentinel-5P was built by Astrium as prime contractor. Satellite will operate under Copernicus program and provide data gathered by spectrometers monitoring troposphere. Main instrument installed inside cargo compartment is Tropomi device – spectrometer sensing ultraviolet , visible, near and short-wavelength infrared. It will constantly monitor levels of ozone, methane, formaldehyde, aerosol, carbon monoxide, NO2 and SO2 in the atmosphere. Satellite was based on Astrobus L-250M platform with mission duration of 7 years. Satellite weighs 900 kg with following dimensions: 1.40 m by 0.65 m by 0.75 m and is powered by two deployable solar arrays providing 1500 W of energy. It is also equipped with onboard batteries with capacity at 156 Ah. Designated orbit for satellite was 824 km × 824 km, 98.75°.

Today weather forecasts were favorable and as it was planned Rockot was launched at 09:30 UTC from Plesetsk Cosmodrome Site 133/3.  One minute later first stage was jettisoned and rocket started to set its course to north to fly over Arctic Ocean and Canada. Four minutes later second stage also was cut off and jettisoned to let Breeze-KM to start its engine. At 09:44 UTC Breeze-KM reached its preliminary elliptical orbit with perigee at 160 km and apogee at 800 km and begun its coasting planned to last for around 60 minutes.

At 10:43 UTC Breeze-KM restarted its engine again to equal perigee and apogee at 824 km. Satellite was deployed at 10:46 UTC. Twenty one minutes later first signals from satellite were received from ground control stations and ESA announced about successful placing satellite on orbit and unfolding solar arrays.

Rockot light rocket was designed in Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center as a modification of existing ICBM missile UR-100N (SS-19 Stiletto). First flight was performed on 20 November 1990 from Baikonur cosmodrome. Rockot is able to lift on 200 km orbit almost 2 metric tons of payload (1950 kg accurately). It weighs 107000 kg with length of 29 m and diameter at 2.5 m. General design is based on two stages and upper stage which are utilizing toxic N2O4/UDMH. First stage is powered with 3 RD-0233 and 1 RD-0234 engines with thrust at 2080 kN. Propulsion of the second stage is based on two engines: RD-0235 and RD-0236 with total thrust at 255.76 kN. Third stage is Briz-KM which is powered by one S5.98M engine providing thrust at 19.6 kN.