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Preparations for testing Soyuz family rocket begin at Vostochny space center

January 19, 8:16 UTC+3 SAMARA
The Volga booster block and the satellites due to be orbited in the framework of the first launch effort will be loaded on Tuesday into an Ilyushin-76 cargo jet in the Russian city of Samara
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© Igor Ageyenko/TASS

SAMARA, January 19. /TASS/. Preparations for comprehensive testing of the Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle start at Russia’s Vostochny space center in the Far-Eastern Amur region on Tuesday, the Director General of the Progress launch-vehicle manufacturing company, Alexander Kirilin told reporters.

The Volga booster block and the satellites due to be orbited in the framework of the first launch effort will be loaded on Tuesday into an Ilyushin-76 cargo jet in the city of Samara where the manufacturer is located.

"This cargo is to be delivered to the space center on January 22 and unloaded the next day after arrival," Kirilin said. "Then the preparation of the booster block and the satellites [for the space mission — TASS] will begin.

The Soyuz-2.1a was taken to Vostochny from Samara on September 24, 2015. Under the initial schedule, the first launch from the new space center was to take place in December 2015 but President Putin proposed to put it off to 2016.

As part of the first launch effort, the carrier rocket is to take into orbit the Mikhailo Lomonosov satellite designed by students of Moscow Lomonosov State University, the first student nano-satellite SamSat-218 that was designed in the city of Samara, and the Aist-2D satellite for remote sounding of the Earth.

The latter is a joint project of the Progress company and the Samara State Aerospace University where the equipment for the orientation of and control over the space probe, as well as the gauges for studying the impact of the outer spacer environment on the onboard equipment and materials were designed.

SamSat-218 has the primary objective of working out the algorithms for control over nano-satellites. A special communications and control device installed aboard and connected to the GlobalStar mobile telephony system will be used for telephone calls aboard with the aid of a mobile terminal and getting the necessary telemetric information on the progress of the flight this way.

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