Launch of BRITE-PL Heweliusz delayed

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The launch of the next Polish satellite is delayed and may not even happen in January 2014.

On the 21st of November 2013 a Polish satellite was launched together with over 30 others into orbit. Its name is BRITE-PL Lem and it is a part of a scientific consortium, in which Poland, Austria and Canada take part. In total, six satellites will perform astronomical observations of the brightest stars, two from each partnering country. BRITE-PL Lem was the third to be launched in this consortium.

The next Polish satellite, BRITE-PL Heweliusz was to be launched by the end of this year onboard a Chinese CZ-4B rocket. Unfortunately, due to a launch failure of the preceding flight of the same rocket type, BRITE-PL Heweliusz will not be launched this year.

The delay is caused by a launch failure, which happened on the 10th of December. On that day a Chinese CZ-4B rocket launched with the Chinese-Brazilian CBERS-3 satellite. The flight was not successful and the satellite was lost. It was the first launch failure of the CZ-4B rocket in 25 years. Right now the investigation is still ongoing, however it is now certain that the next flight of CZ-4B will be delayed. On this flight the BRITE-PL Heweliusz is to be launched, as a secondary payload.

The most recent update suggests that BRITE-PL Heweliusz will be launched after January 2014, but the exact launch date is not known yet.

The BRITE-PL satellites are almost identical, although BRITE-PL Heweliusz contains more Polish components, as well as some experiments designed by the Polish Space Research Center. Both satellites measure 20x20x20 cm and their mass is about 7 kg. BRITE-PL Lem and BRITE-PL Heweliusz are the second and third Polish satellites. The first Polish satellite, a student-built CubeSat named PW-Sat, was launched in February 2012.

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