Headlines > News > Rockot successfully orbits Europe’s Sentinel-3A

Rockot successfully orbits Europe’s Sentinel-3A

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:15 pm via: Khrunichev
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Blasting off today at 20:57 msk from the 1st State Cosmodrome Plesetsk, the Rockot integrated launch vehicle (ILV) has successfully orbited Sentinel-3A, a satellite belonging to Europe’s Copernicus Satellites System. The satellite is intended for monitoring the land and sea, and ice coverage of our planet. The launch and flight control were performed by the Space Forces, a sub-branch of the Russian Aerospace Forces. This was the first space launch in 2016 using the Rockot launch vehicle.

The small-lift Rockot launch vehicle was developed on the basis of a converted two-stage ICBM known as RS-18 (SS-19 in NATO classification). The Rockot LV includes 3 stages. The first two stages are the boosters borrowed from the strategic RS-18 rocket, and Stage III is the Breeze-KM upper stage. The Rockot LV has been used since 2000 to provide LEO injections of payloads with a mass up to 2MT. Today’s launch is the 25th in the Rockot flight history. Both the small-lift Rockot and Breeze-KM upper stage were designed and are manufactured by Khrunichev Space Center.

All pre-launch, liftoff, and flight operations involving the launcher and the Sentinel-3A satellite have proceeded nominally. Following separation of the two rocket stages, the subsequent insertion was performed by the Breeze-KM upper stage, delivering the satellite to the target polar sun-synchronous orbit (h approx. 815km).  The satellite separated from the Breeze-KM upper stage at the design time on 16 February.

The Sentinel-3А spacecraft was manufactured by Thales Alenia Space, France in cooperation with a number of other enterprises and organizations on orders of the European Space Agency (ESA) and European Commission to implement Europe’s Сopernicus Program in pursuit of global monitoring and security objectives. The Sentinel-3A liftoff mass is approximately 1160kg.

The launch contract for Sentinel-3А was concluded by Eurockot Launch Services. Headquartered in Bremen, Germany, Eurockot GmbH was established in 1995 to market the Rockot LV in the global market of commercial LEO satellite launch services. Currently, Eurockot is a joint venture between Airbus Safran Launchers and Khrunichev Space Center.

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