A Russian Soyuz booster launched a massive 73 satellites into space yesterday morning. It became airborne, sending the spacecraft into three variant orbits around the Earth. These satellites range from tiny shoebox just like the size of a probe to a half-ton satellite same as the size of a car, lifted off together into space. Moreover, they set orderly in a heightened tower stacked on top of this Russian Soyuz rocket. It’s the first time when such weighty satellites went into space at once by Soyuz. It first took off from Kazakhstan on a multiplex mission of carrying 73 satellites into three different orbits.

This also includes a Russian booster, locating forest fires eight nano satellites for Spire Global’s commercial weather network and 48 CubeSats for Planet’s global Earth observation fleet.

What Soyuz Rocket Lifts Off?

This Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off into space at around 0636:49 GMT (2:36:49 a.m. EDT; 12:36:49 p.m. Kazakh time). And from the Launch Pad No. 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodome in Kazakhstan.

First, It headed North from the Central Asia space base, then Soyuz shed the four strap-on rocket engines just after two minutes of its take-off. And then it released rocket’s core stage plus the bulbous nose fairing.

Whose Satellites It Carries?

To your knowledge, most of the satellites on the mission were of Planet; which is a San Francisco-based company efforting to create a large constellation of space probes to observe Earth continuously. Out of 73 satellites, 48 belong to this company, which might sound like a lot for us, but Planet’s hardware doesn’t need too much space. Furthermore, the company owns hundreds of Dove CubeSats, keeping an eye on the earth. Now, it added 48 more on this mission. The latest post on its website, the company said the following lines about its Dove.

“This will allow us to expand our open ocean monitoring capabilities and reach sub-daily imaging in some areas around the globe,” the company said in a statement. “Couple this robust monitoring constellation of Doves with our five medium-res RapidEye satellites, and our tasked high-res SkySats, and you have commercial Imaging’s largest, most diverse satellite fleet.”

Moreover, there were two satellites built by German university students for this launch; that included 265-pound Flying Laptop Spacecraft from the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Space Systems.

“In addition to the innovative OBC (on-board computer) concept, which is used as the payload on-board computer, several other new technologies are part of the system and will be verified for the first time under space conditions, and in addition, the mission carries out scientific Earth observation objectives using a multispectral camera and receives ship signals with an AIS receiver,” said Sabine Klinkner, project director for the Flying Laptop mission at the University of Stuttgart.

What’s the Bottom-Line:

Interestingly, rocket sharing like this Russian Soyuz rocket mission is growing as the satellites are morphing into less weighty payloads that take smaller space. Predictably, this will continue to grow as it costs less to launch multiplex mission than a dedicated one.


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