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VOSTOCHNY SPACEPORT /Amur Region/, April 28. /TASS/. 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.
"The satellites are now in the interim orbit," a Roscosmos spokesman at the spaceport said.
The carrier rocket was launched from Russia’s new Far Eastern spaceport Vostochny at 05:01 a.m. 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 a.m. and 06:38 a.m. Moscow time, to propel the satellites into a circular orbit. At 07:07 a.m. 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.
IT was the first launch from the Russian new space center. However the rocket was launched on the second try. It was initially scheduled to be launched in the small hours on April 27. However ninety seconds before blastoff the launch was aborted.
The Lomonosov satellite was built by the VNIIEM corporation at the request of the Moscow State University. It will be used to study transient light phenomena in the upper atmosphere and radiation parameters of the Earth’s magnetosphere. It is the heaviest satellite of the three launched on Wednesday morning (625 kg). Its estimated life cycle is three years.
The smaller 500 kg satellite, Aist-2D, was made at the space rocket center Progress in cooperation with specialists at the State Aerospace University in Samara. Its instruments are meant for the operation and attitude control of space vehicles, as well as for studying the effects of outer space on onboard equipment and the materials the satellite is made of.
And the SamSat-218 satellite is the first-ever nano-satellite designed by university students. It was created at the Samara State Aerospace University for testing the algorithms of controlling such miniature devices. SamSat-218 is just 1.4 kilograms.