The first Polish scientific satellite, BRITE-PL Lem, has been integrated with the satellite platform of the rocket. The launch is scheduled for the 21st of November.
Just few days from now, on the 21st of November 2013, at 07:11 UTC a rocket Dnepr will launch from the Dombarovsky base from Russia. It is going to be an unique flight due to two reasons: the first Polish scientific satellite will be onboard this rocket, one of 34 satellites in total. This is a record in the number of satellites being launched on a single flight.
A few weeks before the lift-off the launch campaign begins, during which the rocket and its satellites are delivered and integrated at the launch site. During the campaign all required tests and check-outs take place, e.g. the interfaces between the rocket and satellites or the power systems. Finally, at one of the last launch campaign stages the aerodynamic shroud is placed on the top of the rocket.
The upcoming launch of Dnepr, requires a significant amount of a work during the launch campaign, due to the great number of satellites. This time two separate launch platforms are used, which allow the integration of all 34 satellites or satellite containers. The upper platform in this flight is called “Platform A”, where the main satellites are installed. The lower platform is called “Platform B” and it is also called the “economy class” of this flight. All small satellites are installed on this platform, including BRITE-PL Lem.
The pictures in the article gallery present the satellite integration process. The first assembled platform was Platform B. Nine satellite containers for miniaturized CubeSat satellites were installed on it, which is a record number as well. On top of Platform B the Platform A was installed, to which the main satellites of this flight were previously attached. Finally, the aerodynamic shroud was placed on top of Platform A.
The complete list of satellites, which are going to be launched on the 21st of November is as following: DubaiSat-2, STSat-3, WNISAT-1, SkySat-1, UniSat-5, AprizeSat-7, AprizeSat-8, BRITE-PL-1 (Lem), BPA-3, UWE-3, Delfi-n3Xt, Triton 1, Cinema 2, Cinema 3, Dove 4, FUNcube-1, I-Cube, GOMX-1, eSt@r 2, PUCP-SAT 1, Humsat-D, BeakerSat, Eagle 1, Wren, Pocket-PUCP, QBScout 1, First-Move, CubeBug 2, NEE-02 Krysaor, HiNCube, ZACUBE 1, VELOX-P 2, $50SAT, OPTOS. A significant part of these satellites are CubeSats or even smaller – the recently introduced PocketQube standard is 5x5x5 cm.
BRITE-PL is the name of a Polish scientific satellite project which consists of two satellites: BRITE-PL Lem and BRITE-PL Heweliusz. The two are part of a bigger scientific BRITE (BRIght-star Target Explorer) consortium. All together, six BRITE satellites are to be placed into orbit – two of them (Canadian UniBRITE and Austrian TUGSAT-1) have already been launched on 25th of February onboard an Indian PSLV rocket.
The first Polish satellite was PW-Sat, a student Cubesat project launched on the maiden Vega flight from Kourou in February 2012.