YES2 deployment in pictures
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.
When the 3.5 km of tether have been pulled out of FLOYD, the brake blocks the release completely for a few minutes.
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.
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 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.
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.
Last update: 17 July 2013