Press Release

At the Service of Science: Rockot Multiple Orbit Mission hits different Orbits

By SpaceRef Editor
June 13, 2003
Filed under , ,

Bremen, Germany — At the end of June 2003, Eurockot Launch Services, Bremen,
will perform the Multiple Orbit Mission from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern
Russia. Eurockot will launch a total of eight scientific micro- and
nano-satellites for different agencies and institutes by deploying them into an
elliptical as well as into a sun-synchronous orbit. Additionally a mock-up of
the Russian MONITOR satellite will be mounted on Breeze. Eurockot will perform
this mission based on the multiple re-ignition capability of its Breeze upper
stage. This will be the first sun-synchronous mission of Rockot. The flight will
initially deploy one satellite into an elliptical orbit. After another impulse
maneuver of the main engine, Breeze will then deploy seven further spacecraft
into a sun-synchronous orbit at pre-determined intervals. The MONITOR mock-up
will remain on the upper stage and will de-orbit together with it. With this
mission, Eurockot addresses the unique capability of its upper stage: Multiple
re-ignitions allow it to be precisely positioned into different orbits and
release several spacecraft successively.

Eurockot is cooperating with a number of international agencies and institutes
to launch their micro and nano satellites: MIMOSA, the 66 kg satellite of the
Czech Astronomical Institute and MOST, the 51.3 kg satellite of the Canadian
Space Agency (CSA) are prime payloads for the Multiple Orbit Mission.
Furthermore, two student-built educational nano satellites, namely CubeSat XI of
the University of Tokyo Intelligent Space Systems Laboratory (ISSL) and CUTE-I
of the Tokyo Institute of Technology Laboratory for Space Systems (LSS) are part
of the Multiple Orbit Mission flight.

The University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies UTIAS leads the
Nanosatellite Launch System NLS-1 and NLS-2 comprising 4 satellites. For this
mission UTIAS is collaborating with the Danish Space Research Institute and the
QuakeFinder Institute of the USA. The Russian Khrunichev Space Center will
launch a mockup of its earth-observation satellite MONITOR.

Satellites and their Operators

The Czech MIMOSA satellite, with a total mass of 66 kg will be the first
satellite to be deployed during the Multiple Orbit Mission, going into an
elliptical orbit. MIMOSA, the acronym for MIcroMeasurements Of Satellite
Acceleration, will provide new data on the density of the upper atmosphere using
the highly sensitive MACEK accelerometer. The orbit will have an apogee of 820
km thus using the direct solar radiation pressure for the calibration of the
instrument; the perigee altitude of 320 km will assure the penetration of the
spacecraft into denser layers of the atmosphere. The MIMOSA satellite has been
designed and completed by Czech research and industrial institutions under the
leadership of the Czech Astronomical Institute.

Following the release of MIMOSA, Breeze will re-ignite its main engine in the
apogee to reach a sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) of 820 km altitude.

The Canadian Space Agency’s MOST satellite will be the first to be released.
MOST (Microvariability & Oscillations of STars) will be carrying Canada’s first
space telescope, with a mass of 51.3 kg. The telescope will help to set a limit
on the age of the Universe and probe the properties of planets around other
stars. Funded and managed by the Canadian Space Agency’s Space Science Branch
under its Small Payloads Program, the MOST project is the result of a
co-operative Canadian scientific partnership.

After deploying MOST, 6 nano-satellites will be deployed at pre-determined
intervals into an SSO as well. Two Japanese satellites CubeSat XI and CUTE-I
will be released first. CubeSat XI is the first satellite of the University of
Tokyo Intelligent Space Systems Laboratory (ISSL) where 20 space-engineering
students conduct the project within ISSL as an education program. The mission of
CubeSat XI is to apply the cube-satellite bus technology and to validate the use
of commercial-off-shelf components in space. Another part of the mission is
earth imaging.

CubeSat is a joint international program, which aims at developing and launching
10 cm cubic satellites weighing less than 1 kg. Twelve facilities in Japan, the
USA and Taiwan have so far joined this program. The objective of the CubeSat
program focuses primarily on education to improve students’ skills of space
engineering and project management.

CUTE-I (CUbical Titech Engineering satellite-I) of the Tokyo Institute of
Technology Laboratory for Space Systems (LSS), is another 10cm cube satellite
weigh 1 kg. CUTE-I is again an educational project and its mission is to
validate fundamental nano-satellite technology including original communication
protocol check, solar paddle deployment with a small mechanism, and original
CMOS sun sensor validation. CUTE-I will be released using a separation system
developed by LSS.

Following these deployment maneuvers the NLS-1 satellites will be deployed.
NLS-1 combines three 1 kg satellites using a launch tube. These satellites will
be operated by different institutes, namely CanX-1 by the University of Toronto,
Canada; AAU Cubesat by Aalborg University, Denmark and DTUsat by the Danish
Technical University. The main purpose of the satellites is star imaging. Next
will be the NLS-2 satellite with QuakeSat of the US QuakeFinder Institute.
QuakeSat weighs 3 kg and is also accommodated in a launch tube. The satellite’s
mission is an earthquake detection experiment.

The launch tubes of NLS-1/2 were developed by Stanford University, USA. Weighing
3-kg each, they are mounted directly onto the Rockot upper stage.

The mockup of Monitor, the Khrunichev-designed Russian earth observation
satellite, will transmit mission profile simulation data during its entire
flight. This mockup will remain on the Breeze upper stage and will also de-orbit
with it. For this final manoeuvre the upper stage will be re-ignited once more.

Perspectives of Eurockot

Today Eurockot has an order backlog of six launches from international customers
to deploy their scientific and commercial satellites. Marketing activities are
concentrated in Europe, Asia and North America. Following the Multiple Orbit
Mission, Eurockot will perform a sun-synchronous launch of the Japanese SERVIS-1
satellite in 4Q2003. In summer 2004, the earth observation satellite CryoSat of
the European Space Agency will be launched into a near polar orbit.

The launch system ROCKOT has a lift-off mass of 107 tons and a height of 29
metres. ROCKOT will lift a maximum payload of up to 1,950 kg into high
inclination orbits and in addition performs polar and sun-synchronous missions.
Eurockot operates its own international standard satellite preparation, launch
and customer facilities at Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia following
substantial investment by its parent company Astrium. Eurockot Launch Services
was originally founded in 1995 by DASA (today Astrium) holding 51 percent and
Khrunichev Space Centre, Moscow, holding 49 percent, to provide launch services
to operators of LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellites. Eurockot is based in Bremen,
Germany and serves the commercial as well as scientific and earth observation
market segments.

[NOTE: Images supporting this release are available at
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SpaceRef staff editor.