Russia launches Gonets-M communication satellites, 18 international smallsats

Plesetsk Cosmodrome NEWS
the Russian Aerospace Forces, itself a division of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, have launched a batch of three Gonets civilian communication satellites as well as 18 international rideshare payloads.

Roscosmos reports: Liftoff of the Soyuz 2.1b carrier rocket occurred at 11:20 UTC (07:20 EDT) on Monday, 28 September 2020, from Site No. 43 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome — located 800 km north of Moscow.

During the 16th launch of the Gonets-M satellites, the Soyuz-2-1b/Fregat rocket was expected to carry three satellites with production numbers 27, 28, and 29 for the 12-bird Gonets-M personal communications constellation developed at ISS Reshetnev based in Zheleznogorsk, Russia.

The mission is the first flight of Gonets satellites on board a Soyuz 2.1b rocket, which is utilizing the optional Fregat-M upper stage to provide additional lift capacity into the operational orbit of the primary satellites.

Those primary satellites are three Gonets-M communication crafts, the second generation of the Gonets system.  Earlier Gonets were derived from the Strela-3 satellites and launched between 1992 and 2001.

The program is operated by JSC Satellite System GONETS, a company in which the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, owns 51%.  Gonets-M satellites share a common design with the military Rodnik communications satellites and are used for store-and-dump operations where data is uploaded to a satellite, stored in its memory, and later downlinked to another user.

Summary of secondary payloads during the 16 Gonets-M mission:

No.

Payload

Customer, Country
Mission
1DekartNIIYaF MGU, Russia
2Iceye X-6 (POC6)Finland
Remote sensing
3Iceye X-7 (POC7)FinlandRemote sensing
4Kepler-2 6U XL (Tars), EXOpodKepler, Canada

Internet of Things

5Kepler-2 6U XL (Tars), EXOpodKepler, Canada

Internet of Things

6LacunaSat-3 (3U)Lithuania
Science
7Lemur-2y (3U)Spire Global, USA

Remote sensing

8Lemur-2y (3U)Spire Global, USARemote sensing
9Lemur-2y (3U)Spire Global, USARemote sensing
10Lemur-2y (3U)Spire Global, USARemote sensing
11MeznSat (3U)Khalifa University, UAE
Remote sensing

12NetSat (3U)Würzburg Center for Telematics, Germany

Remote sensing

13NetSat (3U)Würzburg Center for Telematics, Germany

Remote sensing

14NetSat (3U)Würzburg Center for Telematics, Germany

Remote sensing

15NetSat (3UWürzburg Center for Telematics, Germany

Remote sensing

16Norbi (6U)NGU, Russia
17Spectrum AnaLysis SATellite, SalSat, nano-satelllite (8U)Berlin Technical University, Germany
Communications (Analysis of global spectrum use in S-band and VHF, UHF amateur radio bands)

18Yarilo-1 (1.5U)Bauman School, Russia

Solar science

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