VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME /Amur Region/, October 22. /TASS/. A Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle carrying three Gonets-M satellites and a Skif-D module, launched under the Sfera program, has lifted off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, TASS correspondent reported from the site on Saturday.
In about nine minutes, the main part - the upper stage Fregat with four satellites - will separate from the third stage. It will take a little more than four hours to put the satellites into orbit. It will be carried out with the help of the booster.
It is the first rocket launch from Vostochny in 2022. The Gonets-M satellites were launched from that spaceport for the first time. Skif-D is also the first module to be launched into space under the Sfera program.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told about the Sfera program during his annual question and answer session on June 7, 2018. The program envisages the launch of communications and Earth remote sensing satellites. Former Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said then that the Sfera program would include five satellite constellations providing telecom services, and another five designed for monitoring.
The Gonets is Russia’s sole low-orbit satellite communications system designed for the global exchange of various types of information with mobile and stationary facilities, and for organizing re-broadcasting channels for various purposes.