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YES2 deployment in pictures

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ESA / Education / Young Engineers Satellites


Just before activation of YES2, the Foton-M3 mother craft makes a 90 degree rotation so that the experiment is pointing towards the Earth.


Three strong springs accelerate MASS/Fotino, towards Earth to a speed of 3 m/sec, while the attached tether is unwound like a fishing line.

3.5 km deployment

Three and a half kilometres of tether unwind in 90 minutes and MASS/Fotino swing forward then back vertical, as the friction brake slows down the tether release.

Temporary pause

When the 3.5 km of tether have been pulled out of FLOYD, the brake blocks the release completely for a few minutes.

Full deployment

The brake is released again and Fotino/MASS rapidly deploys to 30km. With the lower orbit, their angular velocity increases, moving ahead of Foton by about 40 degrees. After an hour, the release is blocked.

Release of Fotino

When it is nearly in the "local vertical", Fotino is released from MASS.

The tether is cut

The tether is cut at FLOYD. Both slowed down enough for a direct path from space to Earth, plunging towards the atmosphere for re-entry.

Tether no more

The tether has now completed it's task. It will rapidly burn up in the atmosphere together with MASS.

Fotino returns

Fotino takes course to the Kazakh steppe. Diving into the atmosphere, it loses energy as heat, protected by a heat shield covering tested to withstand 2000°C.

Soft landing

A small parachute opens at five kilometres when the air speed is low enough. The touchdown will be gentle—if everything works as it should.

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