Egyptian Spy Satellite Launches Aboard Soyuz 2.1b

Russia has successfully launched the Egyptian spy satellite, EgyptSat-A.
A Russian Soyuz-2.1b lifts off from Vostochny Cosmodrome on November 28, 2017 carrying the Meteor-M 2-1 weather satellite | Image credit: AFP

Egypt’s Earth observation and space sciences satellite, EgyptSat-A has been successfully launched aboard a Russian Soyuz 2.b rocket. The mission was the first to launch aboard a Russian vehicle in 2019.

The Soyuz 2.b carrying the EgyptSat-A satellite was fitted with a Fregat-M upper stage. It was successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 31 launchpad at 16:47 UTC (19:47 Moscow time).

Egypt’s National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences development and built the EgyptSat-A satellite in collaboration with Russia’s RKK Energiya. The satellite is based on the Russia satellite developer’s 559GK satellite bus and features 3 deployable solar arrays and plasma thrusters.

The satellite’s imaging payload was developed by OAO Peleng and NIRUP Geoinformatsionnye Sistemy in Belarus. Data collection for the imaging payload is expected to be used for environmental, scientific and military applications. However, some experts have suggested that it will more likely be used primarily by the Egyptian Armed Forces.

The EgyptSat-A is the third Earth observation satellite developed by Egypt with assistance from various other organisations. Both previous attempts (EgyptSat1 and EgyptSat 2) failed before their planned primary mission was complete. EgyptSat1 managed to remain operational for 3 out of its planned 5 operational years. Its replacement, EgyptSat2 also only managed 3 years however, it had been built to remain operational for more than double the number years (11 years) of its predecessor.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.