5 January 2018
A Zenit rocket, flying for the first time in two years, successfully orbited Angola’s debut satellite Angosat-1 on Dec. 26. The land-launched Zenit lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on a nearly nine-hour mission to deliver the 1,647-kilogram satellite to geostationary transfer orbit. Russian state corporation Roscosmos confirmed spacecraft separation from the rocket’s Fregat upper stage at 10:54 p.m. Eastern. The Angosat mission is a first for both Angola, the oil-rich African country that gained its first new president in 38 years, Joao Lourenco, this summer, and S7 Group, the Russian aviation company that purchased Sea Launch in 2016 for around $150 million.