Roscosmos launched on Friday Soyuz-2.1A rocket from launch site 31/6 at Baikonur Cosmodrome. In spite of Kanopus V-IK remote sensing satellite, rocket delivered also 72 various cubesat satellites weighing around 17 kg 1U sized up to 120 kg 6U sized.
Rocket was launched punctually at 06:36 UTC. Rocket delivered payload inside cargo compartment of Fregat upper stage.
Engines started at T-20″ and rocket lifted off at 0636:49 UTC. Four liquid fueled boosters powered by RD-107A engine each were dropped at T+2″. Core stage with RD-108A was continuing flight for following two minutes. At T+4’47” third stage ignited its RD-0110 engine and caused hot separation of the first core stage. After another two seconds payload fairing was jettisoned just as aft cover of the third stage. After burning all the propellant (25 t of kerosene/LOX), third stage was cut off at T+8’49” and separated from Fregat upper stage powered by S5.92 engine fueled with UDMH/ N2O4 propellant. This way Fregat begun its lasting over 8 hours 42 minutes mission. First burn of the Fregat lasting 86 seconds helped in reaching correct orbit to deploy Kanopus satellite. It was deployed at T+1H01′ on 478.6 km x 522.5 km orbit, 97.44 degrees.
Next phase of flight was focused on releasing rest from 72 satellites. Fregat fired two times again at T+1H36″ and T+2H21″ to raise the orbit and reach 595 km x 601 km orbit , 97.61°. First five Cubesats were released in 40 second intervals at T+2H25″.
Next step was using Fregat attitude control and settling engines to reduce orbit perigee by 10 km and successfully deploy another 19 Cubesats, covering whole Flock-2K constellation planned for this mission, at T2H33′.
After second group, Fregat started its main engine again twice for 86 s and 72 s. These burns were done at T+3H15′ and T+3H57′ to reach 465 km x 480 orbit inclined at 97 degrees. During following hours Fregat was performing free flight until T+7H41′ when deployment of 48 Dove satellites begun. All these small Planet Labs remote sensing satellites were deployed in 23 minutes.
Flight was another large and spectacular mission after mission of PSLV rocket launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota in February 2017. During that mission PSLV delivered to orbit Cartosat-2A satellite along with 103 satellites from different Companies.
Friday’s mission of Soyuz-2.1A covered delivering satellites for Companies from Russia, the U.S., Japan, Germany, Norway and Canada.