Featured image credit: ROSCOSMOS
Lift Off Time
|September 09, 2021 – 19:59:47 UTC | 22:59:47 MSK|
|Razbeg 1, a millitary satellite|
|Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation|
|Site 43, Pad 4, Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia|
|~250 kg (551 Ib)|
Where did the satellite go?
|Sun-Synchronous orbit (SSO), at a 97° inclination|
Did they attempt to recover the first stage?
|No, this is not a capability of Soyuz|
Where did the first stage land?
|It crashed in the waters off the coast of the Murmansk Oblast|
Did they attempt to recover the fairings?
|No, this is not a capability of Soyuz|
Were these fairings new?
This was the:
|– 1st launch of Soyuz 2.1v of 2021|
– 4th launch from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in 2021
– 7th launch of Soyuz 2.1v
– 88th orbital launch attempt of 2021 (82nd successful)
Where to re-watch
|Unfortunately, there was no livestream of this launch|
How did it go?
The Russian Federal Space Agency successfully launched the Razbeg-1 military satellite on a Soyuz 2.1v launch vehicle into a Sun-synchronous orbit, at a 97° inclination. Initially, this launch was planned for July 25, 2021, but was rescheduled. The rocket lifted off on September 9, 2021, from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, in Russia. The satellite was assigned the serial number “Kosmos-2551”. This mission marked the first launch of the Soyuz 2.1v rocket of this year.
Razbeg 1 Mission
Due to the classified nature of this mission, very little is known about the characteristics of the Razbeg 1 satellite. The Razbeg 1 (the Russian word for “run-up”) is a small military optical reconnaissance satellite manufactured by the NPP VNIIEM based in Moscow, Russia. It has a mass of ~250 kg (551 Ib).
It is reported that its design has some similarities with the US SkySat 1 series of Earth imaging satellites. The Razbeg 1 satellite features a camera built by the Belarusian company OAO Peleng that works in panchromatic mode and has a ground resolution of 0.9 meters.
The Soyuz 2.1v has already been used seven times to carry military satellites into space; six of them were successful. Its maiden flight took place on December 28, 2013.
What is Soyuz 2.1v?
ROSCOSMOS’s Soyuz is a multi-use medium-lift launch vehicle that was introduced in far 1966 and since then has been the workhorse of the Soviet/Russian space program. It is capable to launch civilian and military satellites, as well as cargo and crewed missions to the ISS. Over the decades, several variants of the Soyuz rocket have been developed. Soyuz 2.1v is one of its latest iterations that belongs to the Soyuz-2 rocket family and is based on the Soyuz 2.1b.
However, the Soyuz 2.1v drastically differs from other family members, the Soyuz 2.1a and Soyuz 2.1b. Unlike them, the Soyuz 2.1v is a small-lift launch vehicle that lacks the four strap-on boosters. Consequently, this rocket does not feature the “Korolev cross”, a pattern that happens when the four side boosters separate from the core stage.
The rocket consists of two stages, both of them are expendable. Moreover, it can feature the Volga upper stage. Soyuz 2.1v is about 44 meters (144 ft) in height and 3 meters (9 ft) in diameter. The vehicle’s total lift-off mass is approximately 160,000 kg (365,967 lb). The rocket’s payload lift capacity to low-Earth orbit (LEO) is between 2,800 and 3,300 kg depending on the launch site. Further, its payload lift capacity to SSO is between 1,200 and 1,400 kg.
|First Stage||Second Stage|
|Engine||1 NK-33A + 1 RD-0110R||1 RD-0124|
|Total Thrust||1,535 kN (345,082 lbf), |
1,714 kN (385,323 lbf),
|294 kN (66,094 lbf),|
|Specific Impulse (ISP)||297 s, NK-33A, sea level|
261 s, RD-0110R, sea level
|359 s, vacuum|
The first stage of the Soyuz 2.1v rocket is powered by a single-chamber NK-33 engine and a steering RD-0110R engine. They are capable of producing a thrust of 1,535 kN at sea level and 1,714 kN in a vacuum. Originally, the NK-33 engine was designed and built for the N-1 rocket for the Soviet lunar program, by the Kuznetsov Design Bureau. It runs on kerosene and liquid oxygen (LOx) and works in the staged combustion cycle.
The second stage of the Soyuz 2.1v is identical to the third stage of the Soyuz 2.1b. It is powered by a single RD-0124 engine that runs on kerosene and LOx and has four combustion chambers. This engine produces a thrust of 294 kN in a vacuum, with an ISP of 359 s.
One interesting thing about the RD-0124 engine on this stage is that it starts its ignition sequence prior to stage separation. This process is called “hot fire staging” and is possible thanks to the open interstage that has a lattice structure.