A Russian Soyuz booster launched Friday from Kazakhstan on a mission to deploy 73 satellites into three different orbits around Earth, according to the Russian space agency Roscosmos and research center Glavcosmos.
Satellites belonging to various companies and universities across the globe— ranging from the size of a shoebox to the size of a car — embarked on a rideshare into space.
The primary mission was to get the largest satellite, Kanopus-V-IK, into orbit, which is used to detect forest fires and update the topography of maps.
Other satellites included 48 CubeSats, which were part of Planet‘s global Earth observation fleet and eight microsatellites, which will add to Spire Global’s commercial weather satellite network. Additionally, there were several satellites from Germany, Japan, Norway, and Canada.
The Kanopus-V-IK was deployed first into orbit before 24 satellites were deployed into a different orbit at a higher altitude, then followed by the remaining 48 Planet satellites at a much lower altitude.
The Soyuz-2.1a rocket successfully launched into space at 2:36:49 a.m. EDT from Launch Pad No. 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodome in Kazakhstan, according to SpaceFlight Insider.
The complex mission made history with the most satellites a Soyuz has ever launched into space at one time.
Watch the moment the Russian Soyuz rocket launched 73 satellites into space.
— Next Spaceflight (@nextspaceflight) July 14, 2017
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