June 23, 2017

Launch timeline for Vega’s liftoff with Gokturk 1

Turkey’s most advanced Earth observation satellite will ride a four-stage Vega rocket into polar orbit nearly 435 miles (700 kilometers) above Earth to begin collecting high-resolution images for Turkish military and security authorities.

The ascent will take nearly an hour following launch from French Guiana at 1351:44 GMT (8:51:44 a.m. EST) Monday.

Credit: Arianespace
Credit: Arianespace

T+00:00:00 – Liftoff

The Vega rocket's first stage P80 solid rocket motor ignites and powers the 98-foot-tall booster off the launch pad 0.3 seconds later. The P80 first stage motor generates a maximum of 683,000 pounds of thrust.
The Vega rocket’s first stage P80 solid rocket motor ignites and powers the 98-foot-tall booster off the launch pad 0.3 seconds later. The P80 first stage motor generates a maximum of 683,000 pounds of thrust.

T+00:00:31 – Mach 1

The Vega rocket's first stage P80 solid rocket motor ignites and powers the 98-foot-tall (30-meter) booster off the launch pad 0.3 seconds later. The P80 first stage motor generates a maximum of 683,000 pounds of thrust.
The Vega rocket surpasses the speed of sound as it soars on an easterly trajectory from French Guiana. The rocket will reach Max-Q, the point of maximum aerodynamic pressure, at T+plus 53 seconds.

T+00:01:54 – First stage separation

Having consumed its 194,000 pounds (88 metric tons) of solid propellant, the 9.8-foot-diameter (3-meter) P80 first stage motor is jettisoned at an altitude of about 33 miles (53 kilometers).
Having consumed its 194,000 pounds (88 metric tons) of solid propellant, the 9.8-foot-diameter (3-meter) P80 first stage motor is jettisoned at an altitude of about 33 miles (53 kilometers). The second stage Zefiro 23 motor will ignite a second later to begin its 102-second firing.

T+00:03:37 – Second stage separation

The Zefiro 23 motor burns out and jettisons.
The Zefiro 23 motor burns out and jettisons.

T+00:03:54 – Third stage ignition

Moving at a velocity of nearly 9,000 mph, or about 3.9 kilometers per second, the Vega rocket's Zefiro 9 motor ignites for the third stage burn.
Moving at a velocity of nearly 9,000 mph, or about 3.9 kilometers per second, the Vega rocket’s Zefiro 9 motor ignites for the third stage burn.

T+00:03:59 – Fairing separation

The Vega's 8.5-foot-diameter (2.6-meter) payload fairing is released as the rocket ascends into space.
The Vega’s 8.5-foot-diameter (2.6-meter) payload fairing is released as the rocket ascends into space.

T+00:06:36 – Third stage separation

The Zefiro 9 third stage shuts down and separates, having accelerated the rocket to nearly orbital velocity.
The Zefiro 9 third stage shuts down and separates, having accelerated the rocket to nearly orbital velocity.

T+00:08:21 – First AVUM ignition

The Vega rocket's Attitude and Vernier Module, or fourth stage, ignites for the first time. The AVUM burns hydrazine fuel with an RD-843 engine provided by Yuzhnoye of Ukraine.
The Vega rocket’s Attitude and Vernier Module, or fourth stage, ignites for the first time. The AVUM burns hydrazine fuel with an RD-843 engine provided by Yuzhnoye of Ukraine.

T+00:14:40 – AVUM first cutoff

The Vega's AVUM fourth stage is turned off after a 6-minute, 19-second burn, beginning a nearly 40-minute coast until the engine is ignited again.
The Vega’s AVUM fourth stage is turned off after a 6-minute, 19-second burn, beginning a nearly 40-minute coast until the engine is ignited again.

T+00:54:01 – Second AVUM ignition

The AVUM fires a second time for a 102-second burn to put the Gokturk 1 satellite into its targeted orbit.
The AVUM fires a second time for a 102-second burn to put the Gokturk 1 satellite into its targeted orbit.

T+00:55:43 – AVUM second cutoff

The AVUM engine shuts down after reaching a near circular orbit with an altitude of nearly 435 miles (700 kilometers), and an inclination of 98.11 degrees.
The AVUM engine shuts down after reaching a near circular orbit with an altitude of nearly 435 miles (700 kilometers), and an inclination of 98.11 degrees.

T+00:57:19 – Gokturk 1 separation

The 2,337-pound (1,060-kilogram) Gokturk 1 Earth observation satellite separates from the Vega's AVUM fourth stage to begin a seven-year mission for the Turkish military. The AVUM main engine will ignite again at T+plus 1 hour, 46 minutes, 10 seconds, for a deorbit burn.
The 2,337-pound (1,060-kilogram) Gokturk 1 Earth observation satellite separates from the Vega’s AVUM fourth stage to begin a seven-year mission for the Turkish military. The AVUM main engine will ignite again at T+plus 1 hour, 46 minutes, 10 seconds, for a deorbit burn.

Email the author.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!