October 6, 2014

SMOS Launch date

The launch date of SMOS has been officially confirmed by ESA in April 2009

ESA required last year from Eurockot a launch window for SMOS from October 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008. But after analyze of the request, Roscosmos recently informed ESA (April 1, 2008) that Krounitchev, and thus Eurockot company, would not be able to launch SMOS before the period from April 15, 2009 to July 15, 2009. The problem comes from a limited production capacity of the engine of the 3rd stage (Breeze KM) of the launcher.

SMOS Satellite will have to face a storage period in Thalès Alenia Space premise in Cannes. This storage period will start at the end of the activities of integration and test in July 2008 until February 2009 when SL will start the launch campaign.

It is also worth to note that a dysfunction of an engine of the Breeze family is at the origin of the failure of a Proton launch from Baïkonour on March 15, 2008 (telecommunications satellite AMC-14). The investigations are in progress but the origin of the breakdown is not yet explained.

The launch date of SMOS in 2009 is not impacted but the launch date of GOCE (mission ESA Earth Explorer) also on a Rockot launcher has been delayed from May 2008 to August 2008.