Russia deployed the first spaceship in a new system to track Arctic weather systems as well as relay emergency communications via a veil of fog over Baikonur Cosmodrome situated in Kazakhstan on Sunday. At exactly1:55:01 a.m. EST, the Soyuz-2.1b rocket launched from Baikonur’s Site 31 deployment pad and vanished into the shroud of fog that hung over the Kazakhstan’s frozen steppes.
To get off the deployment pad, the rocket’s kerosene-fueled engines produced approximately a million pounds of the thrust. About two minutes after the liftoff, the Soyuz moved northeast from Baikonur, dropping its quad first stage boosters. The spacecraft’s second stage, or center stage, kept firing until the flight’s five-minute mark had passed. After the rocket climbed above the thick lower layers of the atmosphere, the Soyuz payload fairing was jettisoned.
The Arktika-M 1 satellite as well as the Fregat upper stage were accelerated to close orbital velocity by the third stage driven by the RD-0124 engine. At T+plus 9 minutes, 23 seconds, the Fregat upper stage together with the Arktika-M 1 split from Soyuz third stage, accompanied by the first burn of the Fregat’s main engine to enter a provisional parking orbit. The Arktika-M 1 spaceship was supposed to enter a highly elliptical, or the oval-shaped, orbit varying between 600 to 25,000 miles after two more Fregat engine firings (1,050 to 39,800 kilometers).
The Arktika-M 1 satellite, weighing 4,850 pounds (2,200 kilograms), was set to launch from Fregat space tug at exactly 4:14 a.m. EST (0914 GMT), around 2 hours and 19 minutes after the liftoff. The Arktika-M 1 satellite was believed to have split from its deployment vehicle in the on-target orbit by the Roscosmos, which is the Russian space agency. The satellite’s solar panels opened as scheduled, and ground teams were able to communicate with the spacecraft, according to Dmitry Rogozin, who serves as the head of Roscosmos.
“Everything is fine!” Rogozin sent out a tweet. As per Rogozin, the Soyuz launch took place in weather conditions that were at the “very limit” of the rocket’s weather restraints. Rogozin tweeted that the winds were especially powerful up to a height of 2 kilometers. “However, the rocket, as well as its control system, handled the situation brilliantly,” he stated. The Arktika-M 1 spaceship will take around 12 hours to finish one loop around Earth in its extended orbit, also known as a Molniya-type orbit.
The satellite’s orbit does have a 63.3-degree inclination, which means that when it is furthest from Earth, Arktika-M 1 is going to remain above the northern hemisphere, giving its devices a glimpse of Arctic weather conditions for several hours on every orbit. The Arktika network will have around-the-clock visibility over the Arctic with two satellites in the orbits 180 degrees apart.