Russia has completed preparations for the launch of the Meteor-M 2-2 weather satellite aboard a Soyuz 2.1b rocket. The mission will be the fifth launched from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a launch facility built to reduce the country’s reliance on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Assembly and integration of the Soyuz 2.1b, Fregat upper stage and the mission’s payloads was completed in the Vostochny Assembly Integration and Test Building on July 1. The next day, the completed vehicle was transported to Site 1S aboard its mobile launch tower and raised to an upright position. The mobile service tower was then moved over the launchpad to allow ground personnel to complete final pad integration and inspections.
The Soyuz 2.1b is scheduled to launch the Meteor-M No. 2-2 weather satellite along with 28 smaller satellites on July 5 at approximately 05:41 UTC.
The Meteor-M No. 2-2 weather satellite is the latest iteration of a series of weather observation satellites developed in the 1960s. The satellites are designed to monitor atmospheric and sea-surface temperatures, sea ice conditions, radiation, humidity, clouds and snow-cover. The Meteor-M No. 2-2 satellite is the second of the Meteor-M series, which replaced the Meteor-3M series. An additional four Meteor-M satellites are expected to be launched by 2024.
In addition to the primary payload, the launch will carry 28 smaller satellites as part of a rideshare brokered by German launch services provider Exolaunch. The payloads onboard represent commercial and educational customers from Great Britain, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Thailand, France, Israel, Germany, Ecuador, the Czech Republic, and the United States.