A commercial mission developed by the Japanese company Astroscale rocketed into space on a Russian Soyuz launcher Monday with 37 other payloads, ready to kick off an orbital “dance” with two small spacecraft demonstrating how satellite sweepers might one day drag junk out of orbit.
Sporting a new blue and white paint scheme to mark the upcoming 60th anniversary of the first human spaceflight, a Russian Soyuz rocket loaded with 38 international satellites has rolled out to its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan ahead of a planned liftoff Saturday.
Russian officials could complete their investigation of a rocket failure Tuesday by mid-December, and multiple Russian news reports suggest the probe has narrowed to focus on the guidance computer on the Soyuz launcher’s Fregat upper stage.
A new Russian weather observatory and the first prototype for Telesat’s planned network of 100-plus broadband communications satellites in low Earth orbit were among 19 spacecraft feared lost after a Fregat rocket stage ran into trouble soon after liftoff aboard a Soyuz booster Tuesday.
A Soyuz rocket is scheduled to lift off Tuesday from a launch pad in Russia’s Far East with a new Russian weather satellite and 18 secondary payloads from companies and institutions in the United States, Canada, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Germany.