Mission typeEarth observation
OperatorNational Academy of Sciences of Belarus
Mission duration5 years (planned)
Failed to orbit
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass~750 kilograms (1,650 lb)
Start of mission
Launch dateJuly 26, 2006 (2006-07-26)
Launch siteBaikonur 109/95
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth Orbit
Perigee altitude510 kilometres (320 mi)
Apogee altitude510 kilometres (320 mi)

BelKA (an acronym from Belarusian: Беларускі Касмічны Апарат, Belarusian Cosmic Apparatus) was intended to be the first satellite of independent Belarus.


It was a remote sensing satellite that utilizes the Victoria universal satellite bus, developed by Belarusian researchers and Russian Rocket and Space Corporation RSC Energia for National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus as the final customer of the satellite, which had the capacity to take photos of the Earth surface, with a maximum resolution of 2-2.5 meters.

BelKA was launched, along with seventeen other satellites, on July 26, 2006 at 19:43 GMT, however 86 seconds later, the Dnepr rocket suffered an engine failure and crashed, destroying the satellites.[1]

The name BelKA is thought to be an allusion to the dog, Belka, who, together with Strelka orbited the Earth and returned safely on Sputnik 5 in 1960.


  1. ^ "Russian rocket crashes after launch". MSNBC. 2006-07-26. Archived from the original on 2006-08-21. Retrieved 2006-07-27.