launchers used by MYRIADE satellites
Myriade is today compatible and fully qualified for two launchers: the Ukrainian-Russian DNEPR small launcher and the European Ariane 5. Launch on others vehicles is also possible on a case-by-case basis.
Soyuz in ASAP external position
The Soyuz launcher has the capability to carry up to 4 micro-satellites in the external position.
The 4 satellites of the Elisa mission were orbited by a Soyuz launcher.
The VEGA launcher has not yet been used to put satellites into orbit.
The DNEPR launcher is derived from the "SATAN" SS-18 (or RS 20) that is the world's most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM): this programme is scheduled to run until 2020.
It is marketed by International Space Company KOSMOTRAS, in Moscow.
The first and second stages of the launch vehicle (LV) are unmodified standard SS-18 ICBM stages. The third stage is a standard SS-18 stage with modified control system flight software. The three stages have liquid propulsion motors.
The standard DNEPR 1 configuration, like the one used for the Demeter launch, has the capability to inject 700 to 1,000 kg of payload into orbit at 700 km, with performance depending on the required inclination of the orbit.
The DNEPR launcher is recurrently prepared in the available facilities of the Baikonur Cosmodrome and launched from an underground silo.
DNEPR upper stage with Demeter at centre
After lifting off from its launch silo by hot gas pressure, the launcher's first stage engine is then ignited about 20 metres above the ground. This technique minimizes the mechanical constraints on the payload. Thus the loads measured during Demeter's flight were really low, far below the specifications of the DNEPR user manual.
Due to the shelter offered by the silo, and to the former objective of the SS-18, launch is possible under virtually any weather conditions. Consequently, the risk of launch postponement is quite low.
At the end of 2004, DNEPR had a track record of 161 flights, including four successful commercial launches, and an excellent reliability rate of 0.97. Demeter was launched on flight 161.
The launch trajectory profile is quite standard until the ignition of the third stage. Then, the third stage performs a 180° turn and is pulled by four bi-propellant engines. The payload adapters are then cut one by one from the upper stage by pyrotechnic screws, and the satellites smoothly separate with no differential velocity, only thanks to the acceleration of the upper stage.
Ariane 5 ASAP
Ariane 5, the successor to Ariane 4, offered the opportunity to launch piggyback passengers thanks to the Ariane Structure for Auxiliary Payload (ASAP).
This structure was added at the low part of the fairing when the main passenger left sufficient performance margins and could accommodate up to eight satellites with an individual mass of 120 kg each.
Parasol was launched together with the Essaim constellation on Ariane 5 flight 165 on 18 December 2004.
Parasol and ESSAIM constellation mated on ASAP5 (November 2004)