14. Juli 2017

Launch of Soyuz-2.1a rocket with the Fregat upper stage, July 14th 2017 © Roscosmos

July 14th, 2017 Soyuz-2.1a rocket with a Fregat upper stage launched Kanopus-V-IK Earth observation satellite for Russian Sate Space Corporation  Roscosmos (Roscosmos) from Baikonur launch site, Kazakhstan.

The primary payload and seventy two secondary payloads of a smallsat cluster were successfully deployed  into three different target orbits during one mission. The unique  cluster of 72 smallsats was launched by GLAVKOSMOS,  – Russian commercial operator of Soyuz-2/Fregat launch system.

The DCSM (Deployment Control and Separation Sequence Management Unit) unit designed and built by German Orbital Systems was involved in the deployment of 15 payloads. This system ensured timely separation of satellites from launch vehicle by providing signals to small satellite dispensers built by ECM space technologies to open the door of the container and release the Cubesats at the due moment.

Launch of Soyuz-2.1a rocket with a Fregat upper stage, July 14th, 2017 © Roscosmos
Launch of Soyuz-2.1a rocket with a Fregat upper stage, July 14th, 2017 © Roscosmos

The DCSM unit is a critical system for the separation of the customer CubeSats from the Fragat. A failure is unacceptable. Reliability has therefore been the main design driver from the very beginning of the development in 2015. Before its maiden flight, the single failure tolerant system has passed substantial and thorough testing during dozens and dozens runs as well as a full qualification campaign.

On this flight, the DCSM unit controlled the accurate deployment of 15 customer satellites from small satellite dispensers developed and built by GOS sister company ECM space technologies. Customers include commercial companies like Tyvak Nanosatellites with four satellites and Spire Global with eight Lemur 3U CubeSats as well as three Universities from Russia.

Launch of Soyuz-2.1a rocket with a Fregat upper stage, July 14th, 2017 © Roscosmos
Launch of Soyuz-2.1a rocket with a Fregat upper stage, July 14th, 2017 © Roscosmos

Walter Ballheimer, CEO of German Orbital Systems: “Our DCSM unit performed flawlessly during its maiden flight and no use of the redundancy has been made. We expect to supply more of this flight-proven hardware for subsequent Soyuz-Fregat launches involving secondary payloads deployment operated by Glavkosmos. This launch ensures the sustainable development of our company allowing us to reach the next milestones. Now we will focus on the next important step which is to design, build and launch D-Star One – 3U CubeSat which will qualify our novel low cost 3U bus. It will be the first satellite from Germany that is financed, built and launched by the same private company without any external funding. We expect the launch by Soyuz launch vehicle using Fregat upper stage from Vostochny Cosmodrome in December 2017”.

German Orbital Systems was founded in 2014. The company has its roots in Technische Universität Berlin (TUB): first generation of German Orbital Systems products was based on technologies developed for implementation of such space missions as BEESAT (Berlin Experimental and Educational Satellite – small satellite project of the Technical University of Berlin), TUBiX20 (TU Berlin innovative neXt generation 20 kg nanosatellite platform) and LAPAN-TUBsat – the company adapted the inherited technologies to fulfill the needs of commercial customers. German Orbital Systems achieved solid market traction: multiple satellite subsystems and satellite kits delivered, several ground stations built and launch campaigns managed.