Launch News Soyuz 2.1b / Fregat launch with Meteor-M No. 2 and 6 other satellites, July 8, 2014

Cosmic Penguin

Geek Penguin in GTO
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Jan 27, 2011
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Hong Kong
7 vastly different and interesting satellites lead by Russia's next polar orbit weather satellite (was to be 8; more on that later) are waiting for their ride to space today 4 hours before the FIFA World Cup Brazil vs Germany semi-final! Delayed for many months due to various problems with payloads and rocket parts, they are going to be launched on 1 of 2 similar Soyuz rockets awaiting flight right now, this one from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, into 2 different polar orbits.

By far the leading actor of today is Meteor-M No. 2, the newest polar orbit weather satellite of Russia and a member of the long running Meteor weather satellites series dating back to 1964 (just a little bit shorter than its American counterpart, TIROS). Ordered to replace Meteor-M No. 1 launched in September 2009, it carries new infrared scanners, radiometers, spectrometers and radar instruments to carry out detailed observations of the Earth's weather systems on behalf of Roscosmos and RosHydroMet (the Russian weather forecasting organization), much like its foreign counterparts NOAA-N/NPP/MetOp do.

Since the satellite is only 2.8 tonnes in weight, Roscosmos decided to hoist additional commercial payloads on this flight to be deployed into another orbit by the Fregat upper stage. One of them is Relek (MKA-FKI (PN2)), the second in a (now discontinued) line of small science spacecraft for Roscosmos. It will study the emission of high-velocity electrons from the Earth's radiation belt and their effects on the atmosphere and ionosphere, something that still contains many surprises after decades of research.

Another Russian passenger is DX-1, from a private company that proclaims as "Russia's first completely commercial start-up spaceflight company", Dauria Aerospace. The 27 kilogram satellite will test in-house developed parts and software, as well as tracking ships from orbit (a prospering area that is done by more and more satellites lately).

Speaking of start-up spaceflight companies, another payload is SkySat 2 from Skybox Imaging, which has rose to fame last month when Google acquired them for US$500 million. Already breaking grounds with their first satellite after filming the world’s first high definition video of Earth from space a few months ago, the company is offering imagery and HD video recording services on the cheap with the use of 100 kg satellites. The company plans to eventually have 24 satellites in their fleet.

Another 2 satellites on board that are also breaking grounds are from Britain. Leading satellite developer Surrey Satellite's TechDemoSat-1 is developed with the new UK Space Agency to validate several new instruments and parts from various British institutes, including several space weather and radiation monitoring instruments, a de-orbiting sail and a GPS signal receiver that will monitor ocean roughness by monitoring the scattering of signals.

The other one is UKube-1, a cubesat built by Clyde Space of Glasgow for UKSA that has a camera and one device that uses space radiation to improve secure satellite communication technology (apparently by letting the cosmic radiation to generate random numbers!), among several tasks that will be "the 1st Scottish satellite".

Rounding off the list is AISSat-2 from Norway that continues the mission of AISSat-1 in testing various cubesat technologies, using a Canadian built cubesat bus that has been featured in many recent launches (including at least 4 launched last month!).

Well, there was to be another one passenger. M3MSat is a small satellite for the Canadian government that will track ships around the Atlantic and Pacific shores. However the Canadians asked to withdrew from the flight in April as part of the sanctions against the Russians as part of the "Crimean Affair", and it is now looking for another launch to ride on, with a mass simulator now in its place. Ah politics..... ;)

Launch location:

Baikonur Launch pad no. 31/6 45°59'46.16"N, 63°33'51.29"E


{colsp=6}Launch times
Time Zone | Australia - Sydney/AEST | Baikonur (UTC+6) | Moscow / MSKS (UTC+4)/ | Universal / UTC | Washington / EDT Launch time: |01:58:28|21:58:28|19:58:28|15:58:28|11:58:28

on: | Jul. 9, 2014 | Jul. 8, 2014 | Jul. 8, 2014 | Jul. 8, 2014 | Jul. 8, 2014

[highlight][eventTimer]2014-07-08 15:58:28?before|after;%dd% Days %hh% Hours %mm% Minutes %ss% Seconds %c%[/eventTimer] Meteor-M No. 2 Launch[/highlight]​

Live Coverage Of The Launch:

TSENKI video streams (Russian + English)


Meteor-M No. 2 spacecraft

Spacecraft Overview

The 2,778-kilogram Meteor-M No. 2-1 satellite (a.k.a. Meteor-M2) was designed to watch global weather, the ozone layer, the ocean surface temperature and ice conditions to facilitate shipping in polar regions and to monitor radiation environment in the near-Earth space. The payload package onboard Meteor-M No. 2 includes:

Multi-channel imaging scanner, MSU-MR
Multi-channel imaging complex, KMSS
Ultra-high frequency temperature and humidity radiometer, MTVZA-GYa
Infrared Fourier spectrometer, IKFS-2
Radar complex, BRLK Severyanin
Heliophysics instrument complex, GGAK-M
Radio relay complex, BRK SSPD
The satellite was designed to operate in orbit for five years. It will become the second spacecraft in the Meteor-3M network, complementing the Meteor-M No. 1 satellite, which was launched on Sept. 17, 2009. In addition, the Russian space program funds the development of the two similar Meteor-M No. 2-1 and 2-2 satellites, as well as the Meteor-M No. 3 satellite, which is custom-designed to carry a phased-array radar for high resolution observations of the ocean surface. All spacecraft in the series were developed by the Moscow-based VNIIEM corporation based on its Resurs-UKP platform. As of beginning of 2014, the launch of the follow-on Meteor-M No. 2-1 satellite was scheduled for 2015.

Meteor-M No.2


  • Roscosmos
Prime contractor:​
Mass at Separation:​
  • 2778 kg
  • 3 axis stabilized
  • ?
Life time:​
  • 5 years
  • Average 1.4 kW
  • Peak 2 kW
Pointing accuracy:​
  • <10 arc-minutes
  • Movement accuracy <5 * 10^-4 deg./sec.
  • Multi-channel imaging scanner, MSU-MR
  • Multi-channel imaging complex, KMSS
  • Ultra-high frequency temperature and humidity radiometer, MTVZA-GYa
  • Infrared Fourier spectrometer, IKFS-2
  • Radar complex, BRLK Severyanin
  • Heliophysics instrument complex, GGAK-M
  • Radio relay complex, BRK SSPD
Operation orbit:​
  • 832 km circular orbit, inclination 98.78 degrees

Launch Vehicle:


Prime contractor:​
  • Samara Space Sentre (Energia Holding enterprise)
GRAU Index:​
  • 14A14
| 51.1 m

| max 10.3 m

Liftoff mass:​
| 313 metric tonnes

Payload mass:​
| up to 7835 kg (a launch to LEO from Plesetsk)

1st stage (boosters B, V, G, D):​
  • 4 X RD-107 engines
  • Propellants (T-1 Kerosene and LOX)
  • Thrust/ISP in vacuum - / 320.2 s
  • Thrust/ISP at sea level 85.6 tonnes / 263.3 s
2nd stage (core A):​
  • 1 X RD-108 engine
  • Propellants (T-1 Kerosene and LOX)
  • Thrust/ISP in vacuum 94 tonnes / 320.6 s
  • Thrust/ISP at sea level 80.8 tonnes / 257.7 s
3rd stage (block I):​
  • 1 X RD-0124 engine
  • Propellants (T-1 Kerosene and LOX)
  • Thrust/ISP in vacuum 30.00 tonnes / 359 s
Payload Fairing:​
  • Diameter 3.7 m
  • Length 7.7 m

The launch vehicle's reliability standings (according to

Vehicle     Successes/Tries Realzd Pred  Consc. Last     Dates    
                             Rate  Rate* Succes Fail    
Soyuz 2-1b/Fregat 12    13    .92  .87      6    12/23/11 2006-

Ascent Profile




Ascent Timeline

Event|Time rel lift-off|Time UTC|Comment
1st/2nd Stage Separation|00:01:56|16:00:24|
2nd/3rd Stage Separation|00:04:47|16:03:15|
Payload Fairing Separation|00:04:49|16:03:17|
3rd Stage/Fregat Separation|00:09:18|16:07:46|
1st Burn Ignition|00:10:17|16:08:45|
1st Burn Shutdown|00:11:08|16:09:36|1st Burn's Duration 00:00:51
2nd Burn Ignition|00:57:43|16:56:11|
2nd Burn Shutdown|00:58:33|16:57:01|2nd Burn's Duration 00:00:50
Meteor-M No.2 Separation|00:59:03|16:57:31|
3rd Burn Ignition|01:38:25|17:36:53|
3rd Burn Shutdown|01:38:37|17:37:05|3rd Burn's Duration 00:00:12
MKA-FKI-PN2 Separation|01:40:47|17:39:15|
4th Burn Ignition|02:26:55|18:25:23|
4th Burn Shutdown|02:27:03|18:25:31|4th Burn's Duration 00:00:08
TechDemoSat-1 & SkySat-2 Separation|02:29:33|18:28:01|
M3MSat simulator Separation|02:31:33|18:30:01|
DX-1 Separation|02:33:13|18:31:41|
AISsat-2 & UKube-1 Separation|02:34:13|18:32:41|
Fregat De-orbit Burn Ignition|03:27:40|19:26:08|
Fregat De-orbit Burn Shutdown|03:28:03|19:26:31|5th Burn's Duration 00:00:23


Weather forecast for Baikonur, Kazakhstan for July 8, 2014 (10 p.m.)

A few passing clouds, otherwise generally clear. Low 25C. Winds ESE at 10 to 15 kph.

Time|Temps|Dew Point|Relative Humidity|Precip|Clouds|Pressure|Wind|Weather
10 PM|34°C|3°C|15%|0%|19%|1006 hPa|E 11 km/h|

Source References,65.50000000

Information about the secondary payloads, picture and videos coming soon.... :tiphat:

Cosmic Penguin

Geek Penguin in GTO
News Reporter
Jan 27, 2011
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Hong Kong
Hmm for some bureaucratic reason the webcast was retracted before launch (maybe Roscosmos hired ex-SpaceX PAO?
) - but the liftoff was on time and the Soyuz rocket has done its job!

Pre-launch images and video coming very shortly. Maybe I'll have time to summarize the secondary payloads before the World Cup semi-final too..... ;)


Mar 28, 2010
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Australia seems to get a lot of that. Must be the whole "surrounded by ocean" thing.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Fazanavard فضانورد
Apr 5, 2015
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Magnetic storm causes disruption of Meteor-M satellite operation

September 23, 2015

"A magnetic storm caused the failure of a microcontroller of a subsystem of the orientation system," the spokesman said

Russia’s weather watching satellite Meteor-M No.2 has resumed its operation after a failure caused by a magnetic storm, the press service of the satellite manufacturer - VNIIEM corporation - told TASS on Wednesday.

"A magnetic storm caused the failure of a microcontroller of a subsystem of the orientation system," the spokesman said. "Resumption of operations required that the spacecraft should be withdrawn from the mode of orbit orientation for a single pass."

By now the orientation system has been fully restored," he said.

On Wednesday morning a source with the space rocket industry said that the orientation system of the satellite had suffered a disruption. At the same time, Roscosmos space corporation told TASS that the satellite was operating normally. On the face of it, the weather watching service Rosgidromet refrained from comments.

The satellites of the Meteor family are built by the VNIIEM corporation on orders from the space corporation Roscosmos and weather watcher Rosgirdomet.

Meteor-M No. 2 was put into space in July 2014 and entered service in April 2015. Its predecessor, Meteor-M No.1, launched in the autumn of 2009 remained operational throughout its declared five-year lifecycle. It was withdrawn from operation on October 1, 2014. A short while later all of the satellite’s instruments, including the orientation system went dead.