After launch abort Resurs-P3 gets to orbit but has more woes with solar array deployment (Updated)

by | Mar 14, 2016 | Russia, Satellites | 0 comments

A Soyuz 2-1B rocket launch was aborted just before blast-off on 12 March 2016, causing the launch ground crew to run from the pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, near Tyuratam in Kazakhstan. However, in the end the rocket, its passenger, the Russian civil Resurs P3 Earth observation satellite, and the human ground crew came to no harm and a second launch attempt was successfully performed the following day, 13 March, at 1856 GMT.

All seemed to be going well with the launch until shortly after separation, when the spacecraft tried to unfurl one its two solar arrays. This only partially worked, leaving the spacecraft with one fully and one partially unfurled solar array – and  a potential power shortfall for long-term operations.

While the 5,920kg spacecraft and launch were insured, this was for Total Loss Only (TLO), so it is unlikely that a claim will be made. Spacecraft usually have a margin of spare power built into them to ensure full operation at least in the main part of their lifespan. The Russian authorities have indicated that operation of this Resurs P3 spacecraft, at least in the near term, will not be affected.

However, the power shortfall, depending how large it is, may become a problem towards the end of the spacecraft’s life since the remaining power generation capability via the solar arrays will naturally degrade anyway. One other problem is that a partially deployed solar array will upset the “balanced” moment of rotation of the spacecraft, which might result in more fuel usage for thruster stabilisation.

The spacecraft is owned by the Roscosmos State Corporation and was built by its TSSKB Progress subsidiary.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles

Synspective of Japan anticipates launch of its third SAR satellite by Rocket Lab in September

Synspective Inc., Japan, has announced that its first commercial unit, known as StriX-1, is expected to be launched in September. Read more

D-Orbit to launch 20 Astrocast nanosatellites on ION Satellite Carrier

Astrocast has ordered the launch of 20 nanosatellites from Italian new-space company D-Orbit. Through multiple missions over the course of Read more

China launches 16 EO sats on a Long March 6 rocket

China launched a Long March 6 (CZ-6) rocket at 0450 GMT on 10 August from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. Read more

Russia builds and launches Khayyam spy satellite for Iran plus 16 cubesats onboard Soyuz 2-1B Fregat (corrected)

Russia successfully launched a Soyuz 2-1B Fregat from their Baikonur Cosmodrome site at 0552 GMT on 9 August. The launch's Read more

Launch on 9 August: a Ceres-1 rocket flies successfully again on third flight

Galactic Energy of China launched the third Ceres-1 (aka Gushenxing-1) solid rocket four-stage launch vehicle successfully with its lift off Read more

India’s quick response SSLV small launch vehicle fails on first mission

The maiden flight of India's latest rocket, the SSLV, has gone wrong. After an apparent successful launch from the Satish Read more

China launches carbon monitoring environmental satellite

China successfully launched a Long March 4B (CZ-4B) rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center at 0308 GMT on 4 Read more

From South Korea to the Moon: “Danuri” launches successfully

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral, USA at 2308 GMT on 4 August. The Read more