Monday, December 30, 2013

Soyuz-2.1v rocket successfully puts Aist satellite into orbit

The Soyuz-2.1v light class rocket includes a new engine design.

Russia's Soyuz-2.1v light-weight launch vehicle, which blasted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region of northwestern Russia on Saturday, has successfully delivered the latest Aist satellite into orbit.

The satellite separated from the rocket's Volga upper stage and reached its designated orbit at 6:09 pm Moscow time (0209 pm GMT), the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Control over the satellite has already been transferred to the customer.

The Soyuz-2.1v launch vehicle has successfully lifted its Volga upper stage and a group of satellites to an interim orbit, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said on Saturday.

The new rocket represents a major development in the Soyuz program, which began in 1966.

The rocket features a completely reworked first stage, powered by a NK-33 (14D15) rocket engine which has twice the thrust in comparison with its predecessors.

The new carrier and its Volga upper stage are designed to inject various spacecrafts into circular orbits of up to 1,500 kilometers and sun-synchronous orbits of up to 850 kilometers. The light class booster is able to carry up to 2,800 kilograms of payload.

The Soyuz-2.1v was developed in response to an increasing demand to launch small satellites and end the use of Tsiklon and Kosmos boosters - as well as in response to insufficient numbers of Rokot boosters.

The Aist satellite which the new rocket launched into orbit was created by students and young scientists at Samara State Aerospace University and Progress Central Assembly and Design Engineering Bureau.

The spacecraft is aimed at testing the technologies that are used during the construction of microsatellites, which weigh between 10 and 100 kilograms.

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