ECM launched 14 CubeSats on the Soyuz rocket
28th November 2017
On November 28, 2017, the ECM cluster of 14 international CubeSats was launched by the Soyuz-2.1b/ Fregat launch system jointly with the Meteor-M #2-1 primary mission in the interest of the Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos (Roscosmos). This time ECM Launch Services was honored to become a part of the first international launch from the new Russian Vostochny launch site (Tsiolkovskiy, Amur Region, Russia).
The ECM CubeSat cluster comprised of 14 satellites:
- 10 Lemur class 3U CubeSats
- Spire Global Inc, USA
- 2 Landmapper-BC class 6U CubeSats
- USA, AstroDigital US Inc.
- SEAM 3U CubeSat
- Sweden, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
- D-Star One 3U CubeSat
- Germany / Czech Republic, German Orbital Systems GmbH / iSky Technology s.r.o.
The launch campaign conducted by ECM for each particular CubeSat went very smoothly. After lift-off, the first three stages of Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle have taken the Fregat upper stage into the intermediate orbit.
All initial phases of the launch vehicle flight were nominal. After 9 minutes and 23 seconds of Soyuz flight, the Fregat upper stage separated from the 3rd stage and started to implement the payload orbital injection. Unfortunately, during the first planned communication session with the primary satellite, it was not possible to establish a connection due to its absence in the target orbit.
Based on the results of the Roscosmos’ State Commission, the Meteor-M #2-1 mission and the smallsat cluster were lost due to the critical issues with a flight profile of the Fregat upper stage (Roscosmos link), which has always been one of the world’s most reliable upper stages with an outstanding flight heritage.
In order to continue and expand successful cooperation with the customers despite this launch failure and to contribute to smallsats’ future mission success, ECM Launch Services has already offered each customer, who lost their satellites, new launch opportunities without any additional costs on one of the upcoming ECM missions in 2018.