The 24th and 26th of May mark the return of Soyuz 2.1a Roscosmos launches: from Baikonur, in fact, on May 24, at 12:56 UTC, from the historic Kazakh cosmodrome of Baikonur, the Progress MS-23 took off with material and fuel destined to supply the ISS.
May 26 is the turn of the new Vostochny cosmodrome, in southern Siberia, where took place the launch, at 21:14 UTC, of the Kondor-FKA satellite n.1, an S-band synthetic aperture satellite intended for terrestrial observation.
A launcher that comes from afar
The Soyuz 2.1a is the version intended for unmanned launches of the glorious and long-lived Soyuz launcher, heir to the R-7 Semyorka that first took Sputnik and then Gagarin into space.
Improved directionality of the RD-108A engines of the side blocks, allows the use of launch platforms with an inclination equal to 0°. A greater power of the whole complex allows a load capacity in low earth orbit of 8300 kg. This feature allows version 2.1 to bring the Soyuz-Ms to the rendezvous with the ISS in three hours.
Different cosmodromes, the same launch vehicle
Due to its characteristics, the Soyuz can be launched from high latitudes, as in the case of the Plesetsk military cosmodrome, at low margins such as Baikonur or Vostochny, up to the equator. The ST/A version is intended for the Soyuz platform of the ESA space center of Korou. The only difference? The color of the launch pad, is different, for a purely distinctive choice, from one complex to another!
Progress, the space truck
Born for the logistical supply of space stations, the cargo version of the long-lived Soyuz debuted on Jan. 20, 1978. Since then its evolution has followed that of its older sister Soyuz, arriving at the current MS version with a load capacity of 2,230 kg. most of which consist of fuel to supply the engines of the ISS.
In the spherical section BO, the Progress transports all the cargo destined for the station, while in the intermediate section, which is the SA reentry module in the Soyuz, the fuel is stowed.
Kondor FKA, the military satellite turned civilian
The Kondor FKA n.01 synthetic aperture S-Band earth observation satellite (SAR) is the civilian version of the Kondor-E series satellite, with similar performance. It will be used for remote sensing of the earth’s surface and will allow, for example, to identify buried structures following calamitous events with a minimum resolution of 30 meters and a maximum of 2.