[Editor’s note: Kuva Space was previously known as Reaktor Space Lab from the formation of the company in April 2016 until the end of September of 2021. This blog post was written before the Kuva Space brand renewal.]
On Thursday morning, November 29th, the counter hit 0 and PSLV-C43 was ready for liftoff. The flight operator commanded engines to start and the rest was history for the Space Lab team.
In this Spacelog post we will provide you details of what’s happening behind the scenes of a satellite launch and initiating the operations.
Highlights of the launch day
6:28 – LIFTOFF: ISRO’s PSLV-C43 rocket starts the ignition – right on time
6:33 – Finalising the first stage burn, the heat shield is separated and the PSLV launcher steps on the next stage, at the altitude of around 200 kilometers
7:10 – After successful third and fourth stages, the main payload HySIS is injected to sun-synchronous low-Earth orbit. The launcher starts to change its orbit to a lower one
8:17 – Reaktor Hello World successfully deployed at 500 km orbit! Power production is turned on
8:18 – Beginning to warm up the sauna, opening the first round of sparkling
13:00 – RHW automatically turns itself on over the Atlantic ocean and starts to transmit Beacon signal
13:50 – On the first pass over Japan, our satellite beacon signal is received by three radio amateurs. The beacon is heard loud & clear; it’s confirmed that the satellite is alive and batteries are well charged
13:51 – Bringing the first round of champagne
14:13 – First pass covering northern Europe. Despite being low in the horizon, Reaktor’s ground station in Helsinki city center can hear the satellite and confirm that the satellite is hearing us
18:10 – RHW is being listened to by various radio amateurs around the World. Power production and battery levels above expected
20:15 – First good pass over Finland – Proper two-way communication established
20:25 – First round of sauna for the operators
21:48 – Second good pass over Finland – telemetry history is being downlinked and GPS turned on
22:00 – Second round of sauna for the operators
After checking that everything works as expected, the first test images of the hyperspectral imager were taken on Saturday and by the end of the first week the first images were downlinked and are being processed together with VTT.
So far, so good. As everything is working as planned, the team continues to operate the satellite. Stay tuned for updates!