MOSCOW, December 28, 17:54 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Aerospace Defence Forces launched the AIST scientific and education small spacecraft on December 28, the Defence Ministry told Itar-Tass on Saturday.
“A unit of Russia’s Aerospace Defence Forces successfully launched the Soyuz-2.1b light-class booster with the Volga upper stage and the AIST spacecraft at 4:30 p.m. Moscow time on Saturday, December 28,” Defence Ministry deputy spokesman Alexei Komarov said.
“The Soyuz-2.1b booster with the AIST spacecraft and the Volga upper stage has been successfully launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome,” an official of the Federal Space Agency told Itar-Tass.
The launch has been led by commander of Aerospace Defence Forces, Major-General Alexander Golovko.
The Volga upper stage successfully separated from the Soyuz-2.1b booster at 4:37 p.m. Moscow time and it was accompanied by land-based facilities of the G.S. Titov Main Test and Space Systems Control Centre, the Defence Ministry told Itar-Tass.
Earlier, the state commission took a decision to launch the booster at 2 p.m. Moscow time. So, the launch of the booster was postponed.
Initially, the booster’s launch was planning to be made at the end of 2012. However, the launch was being delayed. Previously, the launch was postponed to December 23, 2013 due to additional checks.
The Soyuz-2.1b is a two-stage light class booster. It can be launched from the Soyuz 2 boosters.
The creation of new boosters is conditioned by the tendency towards increasing demand on launching small satellites, ending the use of Tsiklon and Kosmos boosters, as well as the need to double the Rokot boosters.
The AIST satellite has been designed by students and young scientists of S.P. Korolev Samara State Aerospace University and specialists of TsSKB Progress. The satellite is designed to develop technology and create microsatellites.