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Default VRSS-1"Francisco de Miranda", Long March 2D, September 29, 2012
by Galactic Penguin SST 09-28-2012, 11:03 PM

Well a 19th century South American revolutionist is going to space today.

Erm..... not really, but the second satellite of Venezuela is going to space today on a Chinese rocket. The satellite, which weights about 880 kg, is also built by the Chinese using a similar configuration as their own small satellites. Unlike the first Venezuelan satellite (a communication satellite named launched in October 2008, also built and launched by the Chinese), this one is an imaging satellite with four cameras (two for panchromatic imaging and two for multi-spectral imaging). The satellite will help the resource-rich (and "independent", for which I will discuss once I have time to dive in the basement ) country to develop its resources, and will improve city/rural planning and disaster management.

The launch will occur from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (on a second pad meters away from the one all Shenzhou flights are launched) at 04:12 UTC today. Apparently a Venezuelan TV station is covering the launch live (http://www.vtv.gob.ve/en-vivo ), so stay tuned for coverage later today (assuming you all know Spanish )!

Now who is Francisco de Miranda? He is one of the first person to lead the independence movement in what was then the Spanish colonies of central and South America. Born to a wealthy family in 1750, he quickly rise in fame during fighting in the American Revolutionary War, but disagreement with his Spanish commander leads him to eventual rebellion. He later went to Europe in 1786 and visited most of the nations there, leading an adventurous and romantic (ahem) life for more than 4 years. He successfully sold his idea of liberating Spanish America to several nations there. Then in 1791 he joined the French Revolution and served as a general (so his name is on the Arc de Triomphe, the only American to do so). Later during the Reign of Terror he was arrested and imprisoned several times, and he fled to Britain. In 1806 he assembled a small army with Britain and US support, and after several years of fighting, he managed to form the First Republic of Venezuela in 1810. But the new country crumpled due to economic problems and lack of support in 1812, seeing many of the generals defecting to Spain. He tried to escape when the last city fell, but was arrested by revolutionary officer Simon Bolívar and handed over to the Spanish. He died in prison in 1816. Ironically it would be Simon Bolívar who achived what de Miranda failed, for the Spanish American colonies would gain independence in less than 20 years later.

Well so much for a small imaging satellite then! Stand by for launch in 5 hours....
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:15 PM   #2
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Photos Photos and illustrations





















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Old 09-29-2012, 04:04 AM   #3
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T- 9 minutes and counting..... can anyone help with the Spanish?
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:15 AM   #4
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Launch! Weird looking at wild celebrations on the street at Caracas.....
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:52 AM   #5
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Launch success!

NASASpaceflight.com: Chinese Long March 2D launches Venezuela’s VRSS-1 satellite
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:09 PM   #6
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The satellite was successfully deployed into a 635 km high Sun-synchronous orbit after a 13 minutes flight.





















Also see this page for a bit of technological information about the satellite.

Last edited by Galactic Penguin SST; 09-29-2012 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:45 PM   #7
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Somewhat later my comment, because I'm Venezuelan. I am not fond of politics "socialist" government of my country. For me the satellite is the same as buying a car, it's yours to buy it. The resolution is 2.5 meters, and a useful life of 5 years. The celebrations were only a concentration in a cultural plaza of the city, by the most fervent demonstrators. Ordinary citizens have other more pressing concerns and earthly.
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