Three orbital missions were launched from three separate launch sites around the globe within 12 hours yesterday. A GSLV Mk.2 launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in India, a Soyuz-2-1v from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia, and finally a Long March 3B from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China.
GSLV Mk.2 Deploys India’s GSAT 6A satellite
The GSLV Mk.2 rocket lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in India at 11:26 GMT (16:56 local time). The GSAT 6A satellite was successfully deployed 18 minutes after launch. The spacecraft will now maneuver under its own power into a geostationary orbit.
The GSAT 6A satellite is a testbed spacecraft that will be used to test mobile communications systems. The spacecraft is equipped with D-band antenna along with a number of communications beams.
Soyuz-2.1V Deploys Kosmos-2525
The Soyuz-2.1V carrying the Kosmos-2525 payload lifted off from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia at 17:38 GMT (20:38 local time).
The launch was for the Russian military and, as a result, there is not much known about the payload’s function. What is known, is that the designation “Kosmos” was first used by the Russian military in 1962. The designation is believed to be used for experimental payloads that could include anything from surveillance to propulsion.
Long March 3B Deploys BeiDou Navigation Satellites
The Long March 3B launch vehicle carrying two BeiDou navigation satellites launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China at 17:56 GMT (01:56 local time). Three hours after the launch, both satellites were deployed into orbit successfully approximately 21,000km above the Earth. With the addition of this latest pair of satellites, China’s BeiDou fleet now features 31 individual satellites.
The mission was the third of 2018 to deploy a pair of BeiDou navigation satellites. The previous two pairs were launched on January 11 and February 12, both also aboard a Long March 3B rocket. Yesterday’s launch was also China’s ninth of 2018, with the tenth scheduled to liftoff tomorrow from China’s Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.
Image Credit: CNS