A Soyuz 2-1A/Fregat rocket was launched at 0207 GMT from the Vostochny launch site in Far Eastern Russia on 27 December. On board were a variety of spacecraft. The “main payloads” carried were two 490kg Kanopus spacecraft (Kanopus V5 and V6) which are designed for Earth observation, crop and disaster observation duties. In addition to these main Russian payloads, were 26 other spacecraft from several nations which were on the launch as part of a ride-share deal arranged by the commercial launch provider GK Launch Services.
These satellites included DSTAR-1 Istar and DSTAR-1 Sparrow which are prototype 3U cubesats for German Orbital Systems plan communications satellite constellation.
The launch also carried 12 3U cubesat Flock 3K satellites as part of the US-based Planet’s remote sensing constellation, and eight Lemur 2X 3U cubesats for the US-based Spire’s ship tracking and atmospheric research constellation.
The Grus-1 is a precursor to the 50 microsatellite Earth observation fleet planned by Japan’s Axelspace Corporation. Lume-1 is a fire watching satellite for the University of Vigo, Spain. UWE-4 is UWE – Universitat Wurzburg Experimental satellite 4, while the final ZaCube 2 is a South African communications technology test satellite for the Cape Peninsula University of Technology