This article describes the status of the BRITE-PL mission as of the 24th of November 2013.
On the 21st of November 2013, at 07:10 UTC, a Dnepr rocket was launched from the Russian Dombarovsky military base. Onboard that rocket was a record number of 32 satellites, including the first Polish scientific satellite – BRITE-PL Lem.
Approximately 15 minutes after the launch the satellites were deployed from the Dnepr upper stage. BRITE-PL Lem was the last one to be released. The initial orbit is approximately 600-650 km and 98 degrees of inclination. The process of satellite deployment went according to the plans.
The first communication session was done little over 90 minutes after launch, at 08:47 UTC. The satellite reported to be in a good condition and is functioning properly. During the whole 21st of November four communication sessions from Poland and the SFL facility ground station in Canada were made. At 18:30 UTC contact was established by a ground station located in Warsaw.
The Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) has already finished. During the LEOP phase the subsystems of satellite had been turned on. Now the satellite will undergo the commissioning phase, during which all onboard instruments will be calibrated. This phase will last for approximately 3 months, after which the science phase of mission will begin. Currently, there are two good passages of the satellite above Warsaw every day – one in the morning and one in the evening.
The BRITE-PL Lem satellite survived the launch into orbit without any damage. The satellite is functioning properly and should commence its scientific mission in early 2014. By that time the second Polish scientific satellite – BRITE-PL Heweliusz – should be also placed into orbit. The launch date of Heweliusz is now set to 29th of December.
BRITE-PL Lem – animations/ Credits – CBK PAN, Fajna Sztuka