A cluster of three space satellites – Lomonosov, Aist-2D, and SamSat-218 – in combination with the upper stage booster Volga has successfully separated from the third stage of the Soyuz-2.1a rocket, launched from the spaceport, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Thursday, according to Russian news agency TASS, UNIAN reports.
“The satellites are now in the interim orbit,” a Roscosmos spokesman at the spaceport said, TASS reports.
The carrier rocket was launched from Russia’s new Far Eastern spaceport Vostochny at 05:01 Moscow time. The satellites and the upper stage separated from the third stage approximately nine minutes after the blastoff.
Volga’s engines will be turned on twice, at 05:52 and 06:38 Moscow time, to propel the satellites into a circular orbit. At 07:07 Moscow time the satellites will separate from the booster. Ground services will then take over to put the satellites under control. Several hours later the Volga’s engines will be turned on for the third, last time to send the booster into descent. It is expected that the fragments that have not burned up in the atmosphere will fall into the Pacific Ocean far away from shipping routes.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Russia’s Roscosmos space corporation and the builders of the Far Eastern Vostochny spaceport on the successful launch of the first carrier rocket on Thursday.