Russia’s first 2019 launch has launch issues

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Russia’s first launch in 2019, putting an Egyptian Earth observation satellite in orbit with their Soyuz rocket, has had problems reaching its planned orbit.

Fregat is released shortly afterwards, firing its S5.98M engine to inject EgyptSat-A into an initial transfer orbit. Fregat will likely make a second burn following a coast phase – typically around 45 minutes after the first burn – circularise the orbit. After this burn EgyptSat-A separated, and Fregat will make an additional deorbit burn to dispose of itself into the atmosphere.

It was during the Fregat burn that Russian media reported it was tracking in a lower orbit than planned, although various reports point to the issue occurring during either the third stage flight or during the first Fregat burn.

Amazingly, Roscosmos then noted the mission was a success, potentially achieved by Fregat burning longer to catch up with the shortfall.

Remember, this is the rocket and aerospace nation that NASA prefers to use to send our astronauts into space. This is the second launch problem during a Soyuz launch in less than six months.

The standings in the 2019 launch race:

2 China
1 SpaceX
1 Japan
1 India
1 Europe
1 Russia

The U.S. and China remain tied at 2 in the national rankings. A SpaceX launch is set for tonight however.



  • Diane Wilson

    That Fregat second stage does seem to be an ongoing problem for Roscosmos. I don’t believe it’s used for crew flights to ISS.

    Tangentially, and in reference to an earlier discussion of testing, the Raptor testing has been quiet since the max pressure tests a week or so ago. Now Musk reports that Raptor SN 1 was damaged by the max pressure test, “as expected.” (Musk’s words, not mine.) SN 2 has changes to be more robust, and is near completion. Some thoughts on that: 1) Early production engines, not engineering test articles. 2) Rapid, iterative development, as SpaceX is known for. 3) SN 1 will not go to the Hopper, so the Hopper is still waiting for all three of its engines to be completed. 4) Test to destruction! Although SN 1 was not destroyed; parts can be salvaged. For reliability and reuse, you have to know where and when and how it will fail.

  • wodun

    Watching the results of the horse race dribble in is a bit like watching electoral college returns. Where any country is right now doesn’t matter as there are launch schedules that change the numbers later on and largely tell us what the final total will be, even though there could be delays our unannounced launches.

    Oh, look! SpaceX is up one on China! But China has 4 launches next month while SpaceX has only 3.

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