SCRUB: First Vostochny launch, “Mikhailo Lomonosov” and Aist 2D aboard Soyuz 2

Soyuz is an immensely reliable rocket with a remarkable legacy going back to the R-7 missile of the 1960s.  It seems inconceivable that this week we’ve seen two scrubs due to technical faults with Soyuz, but we have.  One was the Sentinel 1B launch from Kourou, which replaced a faulty component, recycled the countdown, and successfully flew yesterday morning.  The other stands ready to baptize the new Vostochny Cosmodrome with fire.  Liftoff was expected today, but a fault of some sort was detected by the onboard computers, which commanded the abort in the final phase of the countdown.  Now, this isn’t actually the same model as the one in Kourou; this is the most modern of the Soyuz family, Soyuz 2.1a, with a Volga upper stage.  It is almost certainly coincidence.  For most rockets, this would not be surprising; it is a testament to the reliability of the Soyuz system that this is worth noting.

In any case, the Mikhailo Lomosonov gamma-ray observatory, the Aist 2D earth-observing satellite, and a student-built Cubesat await a new launch attempt, hopefully as early as tomorrow.  Cross your fingers!

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