The rocket changed colours from grey-orange to white and blue for the first time in the past 45 years. The launch was originally scheduled for March 20, but had to be postponed for technical reasons.
RIA News reported, citing its sources, that the launch of the Soyuz-2.1a rocket was postponed because of a power surge in the power supply system of the launch complex. After this, it became necessary to re-test the rocket's systems.
On Monday morning, March 22, at about 09:17 Moscow time, the Fregat upper stage separated from the carrier rocket. It carries 38 satellites from 18 countries.
The upper stage will first deliver the CAS500-1 satellite belonging to South Korea to its target orbit. The satellite is to be separated at 10:10 a.m. Moscow time, after which, between 11:35 and 11:37 a.m., the upper stage is to re-engage the engine to separate the four Japanese GRUS satellites.
Between 13:13 and 13:53, the upper stage will detach another 33 satellites. The spacecraft belong to South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Argentina, Hungary, Thailand, Slovakia, Britain, Spain, Tunisia and Russia.
The Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket also launched from Baikonur with a Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft in mid-October 2020. There were two Russian cosmonauts and one astronaut from the USA on board.
Photo: from open sources