April 4th, 1959; Baikonur Kosmodrone.
Today we successfully launched the second module for the KSS. The KSS Core module was launched two days ago and inserted into a roughly 500/500 km orbit at 46 degrees inclination.
The launch occurred at night, as this was when the rocket was rolled out – the second module, the KSS Habitation Module was already being rolled out, and there was little point in waiting. Suffice to say, our new Proton-5a launcher was a smashing success.
Today, we just finished a very long docking procedure, due to engineering not having quite enough RCS systems on the KSS Habitation Module – but in the end, it all worked out. The launch of the KSS Habitation Module was on top of another first, this time the Proton-4a rocket.
The KSS Habitation Module were somewhat lighter, and while the Proton-4a do have two solid rocket boosters, it otherwise has only two regular stages, like the proton-5a has.
With the KSS Habitation Module, we made our first attempt to recover the orbital stage, but it unfortunately lost control in the atmosphere and burned up. It is still our goal to be able to recover as much as possible of our launches.
With that, KSS is now halfway to completion of phase-1, which we are expecting to reach around mid-year.