European eyes see better- Rokot launch with Sentinel-3A atop planned for January 2016

 

ESA weather satellite Sentinel-3A will be launched from launch site 133 in Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia. 

European earth observation program called Copernicus, is reaching another point in the development. ESA planned launching next satellite in the cooperation with Eurockot joint-venture Company on January 2016 after postponing from December 2015. Sentinel-3A was designed by Thales-Alenia Space specially for weather forecasting tasks on operational orbit height at 800 km. Upgrading of Copernicus constellation is necessary due the constant develop of program. Good example of truly international dimension of Copernicus is open access for Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-3. In 2015 it contributed to preservation of Indonesian marine resources along the INDENSO program.

Eurockot in this mission is going to use Rokot rocket. It derived from soviet ICBM missile UR-100N developed in early seventies for typically military purposes. Today Rokot is fully civilian rocket launched from ramp (first were launched out of the silo). It is liquid fueled, three stage construction with length 29 m, diameter 2.5 m and weight 107000 kg.  First stage (with 3 RD-0233 and 1 RD-0234 engines) thrust is 2080 kilonewtons. Second stage incorporates one RD-0235 and one RD-0236 engines with total thrust 255.76 kilonewtons. Third stage is Breeze-KM module with one S5.98M engine (thrust 19.6 kilonewtons). Possible payload for Rokot is 1950 kg.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurockot_Launch_Services
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UR-100N
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rokot
http://newsletter.copernicus.eu/issue-09-february-2015/article/free-and-open-access-sentinel-1-and-sentinel-3-data-would-contribute
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus/Overview4