The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. NASA was established in 1958; the new agency was to have a distinctly civilian orientation, encouraging peaceful applications in space science. Since its establishment, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylab space station, the Space Shuttle. NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System and Commercial Crew vehicles; the agency is responsible for the Launch Services Program which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System. From 1946, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics had been experimenting with rocket planes such as the supersonic Bell X-1.
In the early 1950s, there was challenge to launch an artificial satellite for the International Geophysical Year. An effort for this was the American Project Vanguard. After the Soviet launch of the world's first artificial satellite on October 4, 1957, the attention of the United States turned toward its own fledgling space efforts; the US Congress, alarmed by the perceived threat to national security and technological leadership, urged immediate and swift action. On January 12, 1958, NACA organized a "Special Committee on Space Technology", headed by Guyford Stever. On January 14, 1958, NACA Director Hugh Dryden published "A National Research Program for Space Technology" stating: It is of great urgency and importance to our country both from consideration of our prestige as a nation as well as military necessity that this challenge be met by an energetic program of research and development for the conquest of space... It is accordingly proposed that the scientific research be the responsibility of a national civilian agency...
NACA is capable, by rapid extension and expansion of its effort, of providing leadership in space technology. While this new federal agency would conduct all non-military space activity, the Advanced Research Projects Agency was created in February 1958 to develop space technology for military application. On July 29, 1958, Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, establishing NASA; when it began operations on October 1, 1958, NASA absorbed the 43-year-old NACA intact. A NASA seal was approved by President Eisenhower in 1959. Elements of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and the United States Naval Research Laboratory were incorporated into NASA. A significant contributor to NASA's entry into the Space Race with the Soviet Union was the technology from the German rocket program led by Wernher von Braun, now working for the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, which in turn incorporated the technology of American scientist Robert Goddard's earlier works. Earlier research efforts within the US Air Force and many of ARPA's early space programs were transferred to NASA.
In December 1958, NASA gained control of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a contractor facility operated by the California Institute of Technology. The agency's leader, NASA's administrator, is nominated by the President of the United States subject to approval of the US Senate, reports to him or her and serves as senior space science advisor. Though space exploration is ostensibly non-partisan, the appointee is associated with the President's political party, a new administrator is chosen when the Presidency changes parties; the only exceptions to this have been: Democrat Thomas O. Paine, acting administrator under Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson, stayed on while Republican Richard Nixon tried but failed to get one of his own choices to accept the job. Paine was confirmed by the Senate in March 1969 and served through September 1970. Republican James C. Fletcher, appointed by Nixon and confirmed in April 1971, stayed through May 1977 into the term of Democrat Jimmy Carter. Daniel Goldin was appointed by Republican George H. W. Bush and stayed through the entire administration of Democrat Bill Clinton.
Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr. associate administrator under Democrat Barack Obama, was kept on as acting administrator by Republican Donald Trump until Trump's own choice Jim Bridenstine, was confirmed in April 2018. Though the agency is independent, the survival or discontinuation of projects can depend directly on the will of the President; the first administrator was Dr. T. Keith Glennan appointed by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. During his term he brought together the disparate projects in American space development research; the second administrator, James E. Webb, appointed by President John F. Kennedy, was a Democrat who first publicly served under President Harry S. Truman. In order to implement the Apollo program to achieve Kennedy's Moon la
Minotaur-C known as Taurus or Taurus XL, is a four stage solid fueled launch vehicle built in the United States by Northrop Grumman and launched from SLC-576E at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. It is based on the air-launched Pegasus rocket from the same manufacturer, utilizing a "zeroth stage" in place of an airplane; the Minotaur-C is able to carry a payload of around 1,350 kg into a low Earth orbit. First launched in 1994, it has completed seven out of a total of ten military and commercial missions. Three of four launches between 2001 and 2011 ended in failure, including the February 24, 2009 launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory mission and the March 4, 2011 launch of the Glory mission; the latest two launch failures resulted in losses totalling $700 million for NASA. The Taurus launch vehicle was subsequently rebranded in 2014 as Minotaur-C, which incorporates new avionics based on those used by the Minotaur family of rockets. After a six years pause, the rocket returned to flight in 2017 as Minotaur-C.
The Minotaur-C's first stage, an Orbital ATK Castor 120, is based on a Peacekeeper ICBM first stage. Stages 2 and 3 are Orion-50s, stage 4 is an Orion 38, derived from the Pegasus-3. Different configurations are designated using a four-digit code, similar to the numbering system used on Delta rockets; the first digit denotes the type of first stage being used, whether the second and third stages use a standard or "XL" configuration. The second digit denotes the diameter of the payload fairing; the third digit denotes the type of fourth stage. The fourth digit denotes an optional fifth stage, so far unused. On September 21, 2001, a Taurus XL rocket failed during launch; when the second stage ignited at T+83 seconds, a nozzle gimbal actuator drive shaft seized for 5 seconds causing loss of control. The vehicle recovered and continued to fly the mission profile, but failed to reach a stable orbit and reentered near Madagascar. On February 24, 2009, a Taurus XL rocket failed during the launch of the $270m Orbiting Carbon Observatory spacecraft.
Liftoff occurred at 09:55 GMT from Vandenberg Air Force Base, but data received at a stage of the flight suggested that the fairing failed to separate. The rocket did not reach orbit. Launch vehicle and services for OCO are estimated at $54m; the replacement satellite, Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, was launched July 2, 2014 aboard a Delta II rocket. On March 4, 2011, a Taurus XL rocket failed again during the launch of NASA's $424 million Glory climate change monitoring satellite. In total, the last two failures of the Taurus XL have resulted in payload losses worth $700 million; the reason for the failure was the same as with OCO: the payload fairing failed to separate, although the rocket's manufacturer Orbital Sciences Corporation had spent the last two years trying to fix the problem and had made several design changes to the fairing separation system. Ronald Grabe, manager of Orbital Sciences Corporation, which built the Glory satellite itself, said the employees of his companies are "pretty devastated" because of the latest failure.
The fairing was built by the Vermont Composites company, the frangible rail pyrotechnic separation system was built by the Ensign-Bickford Company. A NASA MIB panel concluded that the failure was most caused by a section of the frangible rail somewhere near the nose cap failing to separate. While a root cause could not be identified, two causes were identified: the rubber charge holder in the frangible rail slumping due to launch acceleration and random vibration, or a failure of the frangible rail system due to it operating outside the environment for which it was tested. A continued investigation revealed that sub-standard parts with falsified test results were the cause of both of the OCO and Glory fairing failures; the upper stages of the Minotaur-C are used by the boost vehicle of the Ground-Based Interceptor, the anti-ballistic missile component of the U. S. Missile Defense Agency's Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system. Comparison of orbital launchers families Antares, an Orbital ATK rocket with a liquid first stage and a modified Castor 120 solid rocket as a second stage.
Named Taurus II. Official fact sheet Video of Minotaur-C launch on 31 October, 2017
SkySat is a constellation of sub-meter resolution Earth observation satellites owned by Planet Labs, providing imagery, high-definition video and analytics services. Planet acquired the satellites with their purchase of Terra Bella, a Mountain View, California-based company founded in 2009 by Dan Berkenstock, Julian Mann, John Fenwick, Ching-Yu Hu, from Google in 2017; the resolution of the SkySat satellite imagery and videos is high enough to observe objects that impact the global economy such as terrain and shipping containers. The satellites can capture video clips lasting up to 90 seconds at 30 frames per second; the high-definition satellite video from SkySat satellites “could help us understand our world better by analyzing movement of goods and people, providing visual data about supply chains, industrial plant activity, humanitarian relief efforts.” The constellation's goal is to be able to provide high-resolution satellite imagery of any place on Earth multiple times a day. When Skybox delevoped the satellites, they planned to "change the nature" of the satellite industry by building satellites with "off-the-shelf" electronics that cost under $50 million.
The SkySat satellites are based on the CubeSat concept, using inexpensive automotive grade electronics and fast commercially available processors, but scaled up to the size of a minifridge. The satellites are 80cm long, compared to 30cm for a 3U CubeSat, weigh 220lbs; the satellites are manufactured by SSL, the optical payloads are built by L3 Technologies, the satellite thrusters are provided by ECAPS. By April 2012, Skybox Imaging had raised a total of US$91 million of private capital from Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Canaan Partners and Norwest Venture Partners to develop the SkySat constellation. On November 21, 2013, the first satellite, SkySat-1, was launched on a Dnepr rocket from Yasny, Russia. Less than a month on December 11, 2013, the first images captured by the SkySat-1 satellite, of Perth, Abu Dhabi, the coast of Somalia, were released; the second satellite, SkySat-2, launched on a Soyuz-2/Fregat rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on July 8, 2014, The company plans to launch a fleet of 24 satellites.
And released its first images within 48 hours of launch. On February 10, 2014, SSL announced that Skybox had awarded it a contract to build 13 more satellites based on a revised "SkySat C" design; the first of these, Skysat-3 referred to as SkySat-C1, was launched on June 22, 2016 by ISRO on PSLV flight C34, with contract for four more satellites to launch. On June 10, 2014, Skybox Imaging announced that it had entered into an agreement to be acquired by Google for US$500 million; the acquisition was completed on August 1, 2014. Skybox Imaging changed its name to "Terra Bella" on March 8, 2016, to indicate its focus on image analytics; the new name was based on the Terra Bella Ave. in Mountain View, where the company's headquarters are located. Terra bella is Italian for "beautiful earth". Four more SkySat units were launched on September 16, 2016, by the Vega rocket's seventh flight from Kourou. In 2017, Google sold Terra Bella and its SkySat satellite constellation to Planet Labs for an undisclosed price and entered into a multi-year agreement to purchase SkySat imaging data.
Planet launched six more SkySat satellites, along with four Dove CubeSats, on a Minotaur-C rocket from Vandenberg AFB on October 31, 2017. An additional two SkySat satellites and three Dove CubeSats were launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg on December 3, 2018. Official website
Cygnus CRS OA-6
Cygnus CRS OA-6 known as Orbital ATK CRS-6, is the sixth flight of the Orbital ATK unmanned resupply spacecraft Cygnus and its fifth flight to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. The mission launched on March 23rd, 2016 at 11:05 PM; the Cygnus spacecraft for this mission is named the S. S. Rick Husband in honor of astronaut Rick Husband; the first COTS demonstration mission with a Cygnus concluded in September 2013 and Orbital commenced operational ISS cargo missions under the Commercial Resupply Service program with two missions in 2014. However, the third operational mission, Orb CRS-3, was unsuccessful due to catastrophic failure of its Antares 130 launch vehicle. Orbital discontinued the Antares 100 series in favor of the planned Antares 200, upgraded with newly built RD-181 first stage engines to provide greater payload performance and increased reliability. While the Antares 200 was under development in 2015–2016, the company contracted with United Launch Alliance for the Atlas V launch of CRS OA-4, which occurred on 6 December 2015, to be followed by the Atlas V launch of CRS OA-6 on 23 March 2016.
Orbital ATK plans subsequent launches of CRS OA-5 in Q3 2016 and CRS OA-7 in Q4 2016 on the new Antares 230. Together with CRS OA-6, these missions will enable Orbital ATK to cover their initial CRS contracted payload obligation. Production and integration of Cygnus spacecraft is performed in Virginia; the Cygnus service module is mated with the pressurized cargo module at the launch site, mission operations are conducted from control centers in Dulles and Houston. On 23 March 2016, Cygnus CRS OA-6 was launched by the Atlas V into Low Earth orbit. During the flight, the rocket had a first-stage anomaly that led to shutdown of the first-stage engine five seconds before anticipated; the anomaly forced the Centaur upper stage of the rocket to fire for one minute longer than planned, using reserved fuel margin, but did not impact payload orbital insertion. The preplanned deorbit burn deorbited the stage, but not within the designated location; the issue marked the first Atlas V anomaly in over eight years to be publicly acknowledged by ULA.
OA-6 is the fifth of ten flights by Orbital ATK under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. This was the second flight of the Enhanced sized Cygnus PCM; the delay of the NOAA GOES-R satellite from March 2016 to October 2016 created this Atlas V launch opportunity for CRS OA-6 to be launched before OA-5. The mission was launched on 23 March 2016. In keeping with an Orbital ATK tradition, this Cygnus spacecraft is named the S. S. Rick Husband after the NASA astronaut who commanded the Space Shuttle Columbia's fatal STS-107 mission in 2003. Total weight of cargo: 3,513 kg using Enhanced Cygnus. Crew supplies: 2,511 pounds Crew care packages 169 Bulk overwrap bags of food 6 Bulk overwrap bags of U. S. food for Russian crew Hygiene towels for Russian crew Printer ink and paper Vehicle hardware: 2,443 pounds Multiplexer-demultiplexer circuit cards Charcoal and bacteria filters for ECLESS Water sampling kit Toilet inserts, urine receptacle with hose, toilet paper Science and research: 1,713 pounds 20 Flock 2e' CubeSats Human Research Program resupply METEOR Computer resources: 216 pounds New ZBook laptop and printer 160GB hard drive for IBM ThinkPad Canon XH camcorder, Ghost camera, Nikon cameras, 50mm lens, USB card reader Assorted cables EVA gear: 346 pounds Legs, boots and hard upper torso for spacesuit Socket caddy assembly METOX canisters for carbon dioxide removal Contamination detection kit Saffire-1 is a NASA test to study flammability and fire propagation in space, using the CRS OA-6 after it has delivered cargo to the International Space Station.
The spacecraft is fitted with various sensors and cameras to record data during what is expected to be a 20-minute fire, to determine how much fire resistance is needed in the ultra-light material used in the spacecraft and astronaut's gear. OA-6 will disintegrate as it enters the Earth's atmosphere. After this OA-6 flight, NASA plans to launch two more Cygnus cargo missions in 2016: OA-5 on 6 July and OA-7 on 30 December, they will be followed by three flights from the extended contract: OA-8E on 12 June 2017, OA-9E in 2017 and OA-10E in 2018. The schedules in early 2017 are dynamic, due to the first manned commercial flights to ISS. Media related to Cygnus 6 at Wikimedia Commons
RapidEye AG was a German geospatial information provider focused on assisting in management decision-making through services based on their own Earth observation imagery. The company operated a five-satellite constellation producing 5 meter resolution imagery, designed and implemented by MacDonald Dettwiler of Richmond, Canada. Today, RapidEye refers to the constellation of 5 earth observation satellites owned and operated by Planet Labs. 1996: The RapidEye business concept was designed by Kayser-Threde GmbH, based on a call for ideas from the DLR, on how to commercialize remote sensing in Germany. 1998: RapidEye was established as an independent company in Munich with seed financing from a few private investors and Vereinigte Hagelversicherung, a German agricultural insurance provider. In 2004, funding was secured for the RapidEye satellite constellation and ground segment with the help of the European Union, the State of Brandenburg, a banking consortium consisting of Commerzbank, EDC and KfW Banking Group.
Through a contract with the CCC, MacDonald Dettwiler was awarded the contract as the prime contractor to build RapidEye's satellite system. Located in Munich, the company relocated 60 km southwest of Berlin to Brandenburg an der Havel in 2004. 2008: RapidEye earned ISO 9001:2000 certification in April from TÜV Nord. On August 29, 2008, a Dnepr rocket, was launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan carrying RapidEye's constellation of five Earth observation satellites designed and implemented by MacDonald Dettwiler of Richmond, Canada.2009: After the satellites completed their MPAR phase they became commercially operational in February 2009. 2011: RapidEye files for bankruptcy protection on 30 May.2011: RapidEye Blackbridge Ltd. of Lethbridge, Canada acquired RapidEye AG on 29 August. On December 18, 2012 the company announced that it has relocated the company headquarters to Berlin, Germany. On November 6, 2013 RapidEye changed its name to BlackBridge.2014: Blackbridge Ltd. announced a new constellation called RapidEye+ 2015: Planet Labs acquired RapidEye.
Five Identical Satellites: Built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. of Guildford, subcontracted by MacDonald Dettwiler, each satellite is based on an evolution of the flight-proven SSTL-100 bus. Each satellite weighs 150 kg; each of RapidEye's five satellites contain identical sensors, are calibrated and travel on the same orbital plane. Together, the 5 satellites are capable of collecting over 4 million km² of 5 m resolution, 5-band color imagery every day. Sensors: The Jena-Optronik multi-spectral imager, the Jena Spaceborne Scanner JSS 56, is a pushbroom sensor carried on each satellite; each sensor is capable of collecting image data in five distinct bands of the electromagnetic spectrum: Blue, Red, Red-Edge and Near-Infrared. The nominal resolution on the ground is 6.5 meters, corresponding to NIIRS 2. RapidEye's satellites are the first commercial satellites to include the Red-Edge band, sensitive to changes in chlorophyll content. Studies show that this band can assist in monitoring vegetation health, improve species separation and help in measuring protein and nitrogen content in biomass.
OverviewNumber of Satellites: 5 Spacecraft Lifetime: 7 years Orbit Altitude: 630 km in Sun-synchronous orbit Global Revisit Time: Daily / 5.5 days Inclination: 97.8 degrees Equator Crossing Time: 11:00 am local time Ground sampling distance: 6,5 m Pixel size: 5 m Swath Width: 77 km On board data storage: Up to 1500 km of image data per orbit Image capture capacity: 5 million km2/daySensor Performance Specifications 440 – 510 nm 520 – 590 nm 630 – 685 nm 690 – 730 nm 760 – 850 nm Imagery from the RapidEye constellation can provide geospatial information to the following industries: Agriculture – The RapidEye constellation is capable of field based, regional or global scale agricultural monitoring on a frequent revisit cycle. The information derived from the imagery can assist farmers in precision farming operations, agricultural insurers in damage assessment and risk management, or governments in food security and environmental compliance monitoring. Forestry – Satellite-based information is being used by governments and commercial operators to assess forest status, evaluate management strategies, measure the environmental and economical sustainability of forest operations and monitor illegal logging and deforestation.
Security & Emergency - Fast turnaround of imagery showing current ground conditions following a natural or man-made disaster is essential for crisis management authorities in assessing the situation and helping to better coordinate rescue teams. Environment – Satellite imagery can provide valuable information to governmental agencies or industries, that monitor the environmental impact of human activities. Spatial Solutions – RapidEye satellite imagery is used as background imagery for a variety of purposes including mapping, flight simulation, gaming and as an integral component in geospecific 3D modeling. Energy & Infrastructure - The RapidEye constellation can monitor pipeline and transmission corridors and identify problems on the ground such as vegetation encroachment, nearby buildings, development of roads or leaks, it can provide land cover and land use classification data to telecommunication firms to assist in planning their antenna network. Pl
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Soyuz-2, GRAU index 14A14, is the collective designation for the 21st-century version of the Russian Soyuz rocket. In its basic form, it is a three-stage carrier rocket for placing payloads into low Earth orbit; the first-stage boosters and two core stages feature uprated engines with improved injection systems, compared to the previous versions of the Soyuz. Digital flight control and telemetry systems allow the rocket to be launched from a fixed launch platform, whereas the launch platforms for earlier Soyuz rockets had to be rotated as the rocket could not perform a roll to change its heading in flight. Soyuz-2 is flown with an upper stage, which allows it to lift payloads into higher orbits, such as Molniya and geosynchronous orbits; the upper stage is equipped with independent flight control and telemetry systems from those used in the rest of the rocket. The NPO Lavochkin manufactured Fregat is the most used upper stage. Soyuz-2 rockets were first launched from Site 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Site 43 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, launch facilities shared with earlier R-7 derived rockets including the Soyuz-U and Molniya.
Commercial Soyuz-2 flights are contracted by Starsem, have launched from Site 31 at Baikonur and ELS, built at the Guiana Space Centre on the northern coast of South America. The Soyuz-2 version ST-B can deliver 3,250 kg to geostationary transfer orbit from this equatorial site. In 2016 the new Vostochny Cosmodrome started operating Soyuz-2 flights as well, from its first launch pad called Site 1S; the Soyuz-2 has replaced the Soyuz-U since 2010 and 2017 respectively. And is taking over the missions of the Soyuz-FG which will be retired in 2019 as production of Soyuz-2 ramps up. TsSKB-Progress halted production of Soyuz-U in April 2015. According to CNES officials interviewed in May 2018, launches of Soyuz from Guiana may be replaced by the Ariane 6 medium-lift version A62 in 2021. Soyuz-2 family includes 2.1 a, 2.1 2.1 v. The first two variants are modifications to the Soyuz-U launcher; the latter is a "light" version without side boosters. When launched from the Kourou site, Soyuz-2 is always mated with the ST-type fairing.
The 2.1a version includes conversion from analog to digital flight control system and uprated engines on the booster and the first stage with improved injection systems. The new digital flight control and telemetry systems allow the rocket to launch from a fixed rather than angled launch platform and adjust its heading in flight. A digital control system enables the launch of larger commercial satellites with wider and longer payload fairings such as the ST-type fairing; these fairings introduce too much aerodynamic instability for the old analog system to handle. This stage continues to use the RD-0110 engine; the 2.1a/ST version is sometimes called Soyuz ST-A. The first launch, from Guiana, was a success; the 2.1b version adds an upgraded engine with improved performance to the second stage. First launch took place from Plesetsk Cosmodrome Site 43 on 26 July 2008 with classified military payload; the 2.1b/ST version is sometimes called Soyuz ST-B. The first launch, from Guiana, was a success, for the first two Galileo IOV satellites.
The first flight vehicle of the 2.1v version was finished in 2009. It is a "light" version of the Soyuz-2 without the side boosters; the Block A engine was replaced by the more powerful NK-33-1, which as of 2009, was to be replaced with the RD-193. The new launcher version was able to deliver up to 2.8 tonnes in low Earth orbit. The Soyuz-2.1a/1b versions launched from the Vostochny Cosmodrome and the Guiana Space Centre have a series of modifications over the stock units. Some of these might be implemented on all the Soyuz-2, while some are particular requirements to the space port design. Modifications for the Guiana Space Centre version includes: First use of a mobile service tower at the ELS that enabled vertical payload integration. European supplied payload adapters. European supplied KSE, a system to locate and transmit a flight termination signal, it would leave the vehicle in a ballistic trajectory. Adaptation of the S-Band telemetry system on all stages from the 5 TM bands available at Baikonur, Plesetsk to the 3 allowed at the GSC range.
Adaptation of the S-Band telemetry coding and frequency to the IRIG standard used at GSC. Adaptation of the oxygen purge system for directing to the outside the mobile gantry. Adaptation to the tropical GSC climate including the adaptation of the air conditioning system to local specifications and protective measures to avoid icing. All holes and cavities were studied and certified to be adequately protected against intrusion of insects and rodent; the four boosters and the core stage were upgraded with pyrotechnic devices to breach the fuel tanks to assure that they would sink in the ocean. The other stages were shown to lose structural integrity on impact and thus proven to sink. At least the boosters and core stage would use the pyrotechnically ignited 14D22 and 14D23 rather than the chemically ignited 14D22KhZ and 14D23KhZ used on the rest of the Soyuz-2. Modifications for the Vostochny Cosmodrome version includes: New and upgraded computer, N. A. Semikhatov NPO Automatika's Malachite-7, wit