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Europe's Gaia telescope detaches from Fregat-MT upper stage
by Staff Writers
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Dec 21, 2013

Soyuz ready to launch Gaia.

Europe's Gaia telescope that will make up a 3D map of the Milky Way has detached from the Fregat-MT upper stage, said a source with the Russian Federal Space Agency.

"The Gaia spacecraft detached from the Fregat-MT upper stage," the source said.

Russia's Soyuz-ST rocket carrier with the Gaia telescope took off from the Guiana Space Centre at 1.12 pm. Moscow time and reached the near-Earth orbit at 1.21 pm.

Gaia will be placed in the L2 point. It will reach the final destination within 96 hours.

The Gaia telescope will make up a 3D map of the Milky Way, search for planets outside the Solar System and asteroids and comets in it.

Russia plans eight space launches for this winter

Russia plans seven space launches from Baikonur and Plesetsk and one from the Kourou European Space Center for the next three months.

"The next mission is due to occur at 4:12 pm. on December 8 from the 200th site of the Baikonur Space Center. A Proton-M LV with a Briz-M upper stage will put the Inmarsat-5F1 satellite into orbit," a source from the space industry said on Friday.

A Russian Soyuz-ST-B rocket with the Gaia satellite aboard will take off from the Kourou European Space Center at 1:12 pm on December 19.

The trial launch of a Soyuz-2.1v rocket powered by a Volga upper stage and carrying SKRL calibration spheres and the Aist satellite will blast off from the 43rd site of the Plesetsk Space Center on December 23.

A Rokot rocket with a Briz-KM upper stage and a set of defense satellites will be launched from the 133rd site of Plesetsk on December 25.

A Proton-M rocket with a Briz-M upper stage will carry the Express-AM5 satellite to orbit from the 81st site at 2:50 pm on December 26.

Russia does not plan any space launches for January.

The first space launch of 2014 will occur on February 5 from the Baikonur Space Center. A Soyuz-U rocket will bring the Progress M-22M resupply ship to the International Space Station (ISS) on that day.

A Proton-M rocket with a Briz-M upper stage and the TurkSat-4A satellite will go on a mission from the 81st site of Baikonur on February 10.

The launch of a Stilet converted rocket with the Kondor-E satellite from Baikonur has been scheduled for February 27, the source said.

Source: Voice of Russia


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Sailing satellites into safe retirement
Paris (ESA) Dec 21, 2013
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