SpaceX launches Ukrainian satellite into orbit
Ukraine’s stuttering space program got a fresh boost on Jan. 13 when the Ukrainian remote sensing satellite Sich-2-30 was launched into low Earth orbit by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasting off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the United States.
The mission took off from the launch pad at 1725 Kyiv time. The satellite was expected to reach orbit by 1850, and to make its first pass over Ukraine at 2015.
Sich-2-30, orbiting at an altitude of 500 kilometers, will be the first Ukrainian satellite launched since 2011, giving this mission the significance of signaling an end to the downward spiral of Ukraine’s once-vaunted space industry.
The satellite is designed to monitor the state of Ukraine’s bodies of water, forests, and urban development, and to watch for natural disasters. Some tasks related to “matters of national security and defense” are also included into the project’s purview, with the satellite’s data being shared with international partners.
Sich-2-30 was initially scheduled for launch in 2021, the year of Ukraine’s 30th anniversary of independence – hence the satellite’s name. Sich-2 was first assembled back in 2011, but since then its components have been completely replaced, with some parts being manufactured by European and South Korean companies.
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