Forty-eight Dove satellites – our Flock 2k – are scheduled to launch on a Soyuz rocket on Friday, July 14 at 06:36 GMT (July 13th at 23:36 PDT) to 475 km altitude Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan. Flock 2k will be flying on a Soyuz rocket in the 2.1a configuration with a Fregat upper stage. This will be our Doves’ second launch from a Soyuz rocket; Planet’s first successful launch in early 2013 (Dove 2!) was on a similar Soyuz in the 2.1b configuration.
The primary payload on this launch is Kanopus-V-IK (Kanopus-Vulkan-InfraKrasny), a Roscosmos Earth Observation satellite with infrared capabilities, to be primarily utilized for fire source detection. Over the 8+ hour mission, a total of 72 commercial and university smallsats will be injected into three unique orbits.
This will be Planet’s 16th Dove launch, or 21st in total including the RapidEye and newly acquired SkySat fleets. This launch will further augment our on-orbit Flocks and significantly increase our revisit rates for the entire planet.
The Planet family is sending big thanks to all that helped make this launch happen: our launch broker Commercial Space Technologies (CST), Glavkosmos, who manages all Soyuz commercial launches on behalf of Roscosmos, and Innovative Solutions in Space, our launch campaign management and deployment systems provider. We wish good luck to all launch participants!
More information about the launch and how to watch via live stream can be found at http://en.roscosmos.ru/.