Featured image credit: ROSCOSMOS
Lift Off Time
|August 9, 2022 – 05:52:38 UTC | 08:52:38 MSK|
|Khayyam & rideshare|
|Republic of Iran, Aerospace Capital|
|Site 31/6, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan|
|650 kg (1400 Ib)|
Where did the satellite go?
|490×525 km Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO), at an inclination of 97°|
Did they attempt to recover the first stage?
|No, this is not a capability of Soyuz|
Where did the first stage land?
|It crashed on the land of Northern Kazakhstan near the border with Russia|
Did they attempt to recover the fairings?
|No, this is not a capability of Soyuz|
Were these fairings new?
This was the:
|– 12th Russia’s orbital launch in 2022
– 4th launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome of 2022
– 57th launch of Soyuz 2.1b
– 109th launch of Fregat upper stage
– 100th orbital launch attempt of 2022 (97th successful)
Where to re-watch
How Did It Go?
The Russian Federal Space Agency successfully launched the Khayyam & rideshare mission on a Soyuz 2.1b launch vehicle into a Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). The rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, which marked the 4th launch from this site in 2022.
Primary Payload Khayyam
Khayyam is a remote sensing satellite system that was developed by Russian VNIIEM (the manufacturer of the Kanopus satellite platform) and NPK Barl (the company that provides the optical payload) for Iran. This project was announced in 2015 and was described as “Project 505” in some 2018-2019 documents.
Very little is known about this satellite. The Khayyam satellite has a mass of 650 kg and a maximum resolution of 1 m. It is reported that this satellite is used to meet Iran’s needs to monitor the productivity of the country’s agriculture, mining, natural, and environmental problems.
Together with the Iranian satellite, 16 Russian 3U CubeSats were delivered into orbit. Among them were CubeSX-HSE-2, KODIZ, UTMN, CYCLOPS, Siren, KAI-1, Kuzbass-300, Skoltech-B1, Skoltech-B2, Polytech Universe-1, Polytech Universe-2, Vizard, Geoscan-Edelweiss, MIET -AIS, ISOI, and ReshUCub. They were designed and developed by Russian universities and institutes as a part of the “Space-π” project with the support of the FASIE.
These CubeSats were created for scientific and technological research, including development of inter-satellite communications, measurement of electromagnetic radiation, remote earth probing, and monitoring of ecological situation.
CubeSX-HSE-2 was built by the Higher School of Economics (HSE, Moscow), is based on the OrbiCraft-Pro 3U platform, and is equipped with a high-speed X-band transmitter to monitor the Earth’s surface in the Arctic region and ship movement along the Northern Sea Route. This CubeSat consists of three units, one carries the propulsion system, the second one has instruments for the satellite’s operation, and the last holds the payload – an experimental remote sensing camera.
KODIZ is the combined radiation detector developed by the DV Skobeltsyn Research Institute of Nuclear Physics of Moscow State University (NIIYAF MSU). The main aim of this satellite is to detect radiation-hazardous proton fluxes from solar flares in near-Earth space.
UTMN is a CubeSat developed by the Tyumen State University (TSU) within the framework of the “Duty on the Planet” competition. Its main mission is to image oil spills in the Arctic and predict the development of the ecological situations in this region.
CYCLOPS was created by the DF Ustinov “MMI” (Military Mechanical Institute) BSTU, also within the project “Duty on the Planet”. Among its tasks are testing of energy storage, lunar rover technology, and material and electronics degradation studies.
KAI-1 has a set of cameras that are capable of taking panoramic images of space (180-270 degrees). Moreover, it carries a unique thermometer inside and on its surface and the 145/435 MHz amateur radio transmitter. It was developed by the NILACT DOSAAF LLC, KNITU-KAI University.
The Kuzbass-300 satellite was built by the Kuzbass State Technical University. It will perform remote sensing of the Earth and fire monitoring in Russia. It is able to transmit telemetry data, voice messages, and images back to Earth.
Skoltech-B1 & B2
The Skoltech Space Systems Laboratory prepared two satellites: Skoltech-B1 & B2 to test the technology of inter-satellite communication at a long distance. These satellites carry three types of payloads, namely, inter-satellite communication modules, gamma detectors, and visible range cameras for remote sensing.
Polytech Universe-1 & 2
The Polytech Universe-1 & 2 satellites aim to survey the level of electromagnetic radiation on the Earth’s surface in various frequency ranges. Both of them have the same structure and have solar panels, navigation system, orientation and stability module, communication system, and payload module with radio reception equipment.
Vizard will help study the directions of ice drift in the Arctic Ocean. This project will provide important information for the development of the Northern Sea route.
Geoscan-Edelweiss will be used to evaluate the possibilities of removing nano-satellites from orbit.
The MIET-AIS satellite was developed by the Moscow Institute of Electronic Technology (MIET) and will be used to receive signals from transmitters installed on ships to prevent their collisions and conduct rescue operations.
ISOI carries a hyperspectral remote sensing camera, which can see more colors than the human eye. The obtained data will help perform geo-linking and static analysis of hyperspectral images by video sequences.
ReshUCub was developed by the Reshetnev University (SibSU named after MF Reshetnev). It has a reconfigurable space laboratory that will help measure the radiation levels in orbit, monitor the Earth’s surface with an optical range camera, and investigate the impact of space on its electronic components. The CubeSat is based on the OrbiCraft-Pro SXC3 satellite platform of SBUTNIX.
What Is Soyuz 2.1b?
ROSCOSMOS’s Soyuz is a multi-use medium-lift launch vehicle that was introduced in far 1966 and since then has been the workhorse of the Soviet/Russian space program. It is capable to launch civilian and military satellites, as well as cargo and crewed missions to the ISS. Over the decades, several variants of the Soyuz rocket have been developed. Soyuz 2.1b is one of its latest iterations that belongs to the Soyuz-2 rocket family.
The rocket consists of three stages, all of them are expendable. When launching to the ISS, Soyuz-2 can be flown with either a Progress capsule or a Soyuz spacecraft.
Soyuz 2.1b is about 46.3 meters (152 ft) in height and 2.95 meters (9 feet) in diameter. The vehicle’s total lift-off mass is approximately 312,000 kg (688,000 lb). The rocket’s payload lift capacity to low-Earth orbit (LEO) is between 6,600 and 7,400 kg depending on the launch site.
|First Stage||Second Stage||Third stage|
|Total Thrust||840 kN (188,720 lbf),
1,020 kN (229,290 lbf),
|792 kN (178,140 lbf),
922 kN (207,240 lbf),
|294 kN (66,094 lbf),
|Specific Impulse (ISP)||263 s, sea level
320 s, vacuum
|258 s, sea level
321 s, vacuum
|359 s, vacuum|
The first stage of the Soyuz 2.1b rocket is composed of four side boosters that are powered by RD-107A engines. Each one of the boosters has a conical shape and a dry weight of 3,784 kg. It is approximately 19.6 meters in length, with a diameter of 2.7 meters. Each side booster has two vernier thrusters for flight control.
The RD-107A engine runs on rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) and liquid oxygen (LOx). The propellants are stored in the pressurized aluminum alloy tanks, the kerosene tank is located in the cylindrical part of the booster, and the LOx one is in the conical section. Each one of those engines have four combustion chambers and together they are capable of producing a thrust of 840 kN at sea level and 1,020 kN in a vacuum.
Perhaps, the most spectacular moment of the Soyuz-2 rocket’s launch is the separation of the first stage. It happens approximately 2 minutes after the launch. The boosters perform a pattern, known as the “Korolev cross” (named after Sergei Korolev, a very important figure of the USSR space program and history).
Second And Third Stages
The center core stage is powered by a single RD-108A engine, and the upper stage is fitted with a single RD-0124 engine. Both of these engines run on RP-1 and LOx and have 4 combustion chambers. The second stage is 27.1 meters long, with a diameter of 2.95 meters, and a dry mass of 6,545 kg. It has 4 vernier thrusters for three-axis flight control.
The third stage of a Soyuz-2 rocket has a height of 6.7 meters, a diameter of 2.7 meters, and a dry mass of 2,355 kg. One interesting thing about the RD-0124 engine on this stage is that it starts its ignition sequence prior to stage separation. This process is called “hot fire staging”.
Fregat Upper Stage
Flight qualified in 2000, the Fregat upper stage is an autonomous and flexible stage that is designed to operate as an orbital vehicle. It extends the Soyuz launcher’s capability, covering a full range of orbits (LEO, SSO, MEO, GTO, GEO and Earth escape). Fregat is independent of all the other stages, as it has its own guidance, navigation, attitude control, tracking, and telemetry systems. The S5.92 engine burns storable propellants – UDMH (unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine) and NTO (nitrogen tetroxide). The Fregat upper stage is encapsulated in a fairing with the payload and a payload adapter/dispenser. Upgraded Fregat-M has additional ball-shaped compartments on top of its propellant tanks, which allows to increase the load capability of the propellant.