The innovative format of missions for the removal of small satellites

Space technologies


Kosmodemianskii E. V.1*, Kirichenko A. S.1*, Klyushin D. I.1*, Kosmodemyanskaya O. V.1*, Makushev V. V.1*, Almurzin P. P.2**

1. Space Rocket Centrе Progress, 18, Zemets str., Samara, 443009, Russia
2. Samara National Research University named after Academician S.P. Korolev, 34, Moskovskoye shosse, Samara, 443086, Russia



This article deals with carrying out missions of employing a large number of small spacecraft (SSCs) including those of "CubeSat«format. This task is associated with an increased number of «CubeSat» small spacecraft being developed by educational, scientific and industrial organizations which will result in the need of expanding the market for launching «CubeSat» spacecraft. Currently, the growth of the number of «CubeSat» projects allows to predict the launch of 30 to 50 satellites annually within the next 6 years. Given the growing number of SSCs projects having practical value and developed in the interests of government agencies it can be said that the task of launching these spacecraft becomes highly specialized.
Currently, «CubeSat» SSCs launches are mainly run within larger expensive missions that have several disadvantages, such as the difficulty of choosing an appropriate mission; being bound to the main spacecraft orbit; long preparation cycle of main payload launch.
Samara Space Center is developing and producing a number of products that can be used for employing «CubeSat» SSCs cluster missions. Above all, this is «Soyuz- 2» Phase 1B rocket ( two-stage light class booster) designed to launch satellites from «Soyuz- 2» launch complexes. To ensure employing the payloads into orbits with a wider range of required accuracy a «Volga» deployment unit was designed. Application of «Soyuz- 2» Phase 1B rocket together with «Volga» deployment unit increases the maximum payload mass. The first launch of «Soyuz- 2» Phase 1B rocket together with «Volga» deployment unit was held on 28 December 2013.
To organize and cluster launch «CubeSat» SSCs we have developed «The Matrix» launch pad designed for simultaneous orbit employment to 512 SSCs from 1U to 6U, format totaling up to 1536U. This provides the ability to set the launch pad and from 1 to 4 SSCs with the specified parameters (different from «CubeSat» format) to separate. Meanwhile, the launch pad is a place to accommodate transport and launch from 1U to 6U «CubeSat» SSCs containers.
«The Matrix» launch pad is set onto the unit being launched in order to rotate on one axis. Thereby it provides a desired angle of separating the SSCs. In turn, the «CubeSat» SSC are installed onto the launch pad in a unified transport launch canister which separates the SSC with the specified linear and angular velocities.
Launching such a large number of SSCs requires a special approach to the organizing the launch: it require establishing a special section on the website of the Samara Space Center ensuring the possibility of submitting online applications and online tracking the process of formation of a cluster launch online.
Thus, Samara Space Center has a number of technologies to provide both single and group launch for SSCs including the «CubeSat» ones. Development of special tools, such as «The Matrix» launch pad, provides the simultaneous employment of a large number of SSCs on a wide range of operating orbits and thus ensuring high technical and economic efficiency of SSCs missions.


small spacecraft, CubeSat, general-purpose platform, launch development, web- technologies, transport and launch container


1. Michael’s List of CubeSat Satellite (, accessed 16.07.2013.
2. Klofas B. A Survey of CubeSat Communication System, 2009-2012, April 2013.
3. Wikipedia EN. List of CubeSats (, accessed 16.07.2013.

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