Soyuz ST-A/Fregat M launches five spacecraft including CHEOPS planet hunter and a Cosmo-Skymed Second Generation imaging sat

by | Dec 18, 2019 | Launches, Military space, Satellites

At 0854 GMT on 18 December, the launch took place of a Russian-build Soyuz ST-A/Fregat M launch vehicle. The launch took place from the Sinnamary launch site, near Kourou in French Guiana. The first payload released was the COSMO-SKYMED Second Generation 1 spacecraft . This was followed by further burns of the Fregat upper stage to raise the orbit further, a release ASAP-S mutli-payload adapter and then release of the CHEOPS spacecraft. The cubesats Eye-Sat and Ops-Sat  were then deployed together and then finally Angels (CNES.CLS).

The 273 kg CHEOPS spacecraft is a planet hunting satellite for ESA. The 2,205 Cosmo-Skymed Second Generation 1 (CSG-1) is a much larger spacecraft aimed at space based radar imaging satellite. It is owned by the Italian Space Agency ASI in conjunction with the Italian Ministry of Defence. Eye-Sat is an 8 kg Astronomical CubeSat to study zodiacal light and image the Milky Way owned by the French Space Agency CNES. Ops-Sat is a 7kg satellite owned by ESA which will test and validate new techniques in mission control and in on-board satellite systems.  Angels is a 27 kg CNES satellite proving asset tracking technologies.

Soyuz ST-A/Fregat M carrying CHEOPS and four other satellites is launched. Courtesy: Arianespace via spaceflightnow.com

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