April 4 saw two orbital missions, one space probe milestone, and a rocket ground test.
The Progress MS-11 resupply mission reached the International Space Station at 1422 UT, following two orbits and a launch from Baikonur on a Soyuz-2 rocket at 1101. The capsule delivered 3.4 t of spare parts, fuel, and consumables. The successful mission is another sign that life is returning to normal on the station, which returned to a full crew of six astronauts after Soyuz MS-12 arrived three weeks ago.
At 1704, Arianespace launched four commsats for SES/o3b on Soyuz mission VS22. Much like the existing o3b fleet, the new satellites will operate at a 8000-km medium-earth orbit, and provide high-speed internet through targetable spot-beams. Though other firms are building low-earth orbit Internet constellations, for the moment o3b is the highest-performance option among systems that are fully operational. It is also relatively expensive and mainly filling an enterprise backhaul role for ISPs and wireless providers, rather than a direct-to-consumer model.Continue reading “Progress and o3b reach orbit”