Vostochny cosmodrome caught on Soyuz rocketcam

Impressive vid of inaugural launch

Russian space agency Roscosmos has released an impressive rocketcam video shot from the Soyuz-2.1a which last month became the first mighty lifter to depart the country's new Vostochny cosmodrome.

The edited highlights footage shows the rocket leaving the pad, the separation of two of its four liquid-fuelled boosters, then core stage separation as the third stage engine fires. The curved structure that's seen falling away about eight seconds later (at around 1:16) is one of the aerodynamic panels which "connected the second and third stages", as Spaceflight Now helpfully explains.

Finally, the Volga upper stage, with its satellite payload visible, is released into the wide black yonder. The Volga features a restartable hypergolic fuel motor, which in this case was later fired twice to place three satellites into their final orbits.

Given the video's viewpoint, we're not treated to the famed Soyuz "Korolyov Cross", formed as the aforementioned quartet of boosters is jettisoned. It's just about visible in the ground-based footage of the Vostochny launch (at 5:28), but here's a beautiful example captured during the lofting of Europe's Sentinel-1A satellite in April 2014 (fast forward to 2:18):

Vostochny cosmodrome is still a work in progress, but the facility will ultimately host 10 launches a year, reducing Russian reliance on Baikonur in Kazakhstan. ®


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