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Feature story July 23, 2013

Three Soyuz launchers are at the Spaceport for Arianespace’s upcoming medium-lift missions from French Guiana

Two more Soyuz launchers have now arrived in French Guiana, joining a previously-delivered vehicle that is being readied for Arianespace’s next Spaceport mission with the medium-lift workhorse.

The MN Colibri is docked at Pariacabo Port after its Atlantic crossing with two Soyuz launchers. Visible on the ship’s upper deck external storage area are containers with the Russian-built vehicles’ payload fairings.

The MN Colibri is docked at Pariacabo Port after its Atlantic crossing with two Soyuz launchers. Visible on the ship’s upper deck external storage area are containers with the Russian-built vehicles’ payload fairings.

Capt. Anthony Charon operates the MN Colibri’s radar as the roll-on/roll-off ship is prepared for departure from Pariacabo Port after delivering two Soyuz launchers.

Capt. Anthony Charon operates the MN Colibri’s radar as the roll-on/roll-off ship is prepared for departure from Pariacabo Port after delivering two Soyuz launchers.

The latest pair was brought by the MN Colibri – which is one of two roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) ships used to transport the Soyuz, Ariane 5 and Vega members of Arianespace’s launcher family from Europe to the company’s South America operating base.

After docking at Pariacabo Port adjacent to the city of Kourou on Friday, July 19, the unloading began process for these two Russian-built vehicles, initiating a multi-day transfer process by road to the nearby Spaceport – which will be completed this week.

The MN Colibri’s large enclosed RO/RO main deck, along with the external storage area on its upper deck, enable two complete Soyuz vehicles to be carried on transatlantic voyages from St. Petersburg, Russia to Kourou, according to Patrick Legris, who is part of Arianespace’s logistics team at the Spaceport.

This latest delivery included all components for the two newly-delivered launchers: their first, second and third stages; the Fregat upper stage; payload fairing; and elements of the vehicles’ propellant load.

The voyage was under the command of Capt. Anthony Charon, who works for the Compagnie Maritime Nantaise – MN, which operates the MN Colibri and its MN Toucan sister ship for Arianespace.

Charon said the 5,217-naut. mi. trip from St. Petersburg to Kourou took 14.5 days at the ship’s operating speed of 15 kts., with the journey performed in excellent summer weather conditions.

The MN Colibri is the primary vessel used by Compagnie Maritime Nantaise – MN for launcher transportation duties on behalf of Arianespace, with the MN Toucan sister ship also available.  MN Colibri is the latest-built of the two, and incorporates certain updates based on the MN Toucan’s operating experience for Arianespace, including the capability of stacking containers up to three high on the exterior upper deck.

Containers with launcher stages for the two newly-delivered Soyuz vehicles await their transfer from Pariacabo Port to the Spaceport. These stages were carried in the MN Colibri’s roll-on/roll-off main deck during the voyage from St. Petersburg, Russia to Kourou in French Guiana.

Containers with launcher stages for the two newly-delivered Soyuz vehicles await their transfer from Pariacabo Port to the Spaceport. These stages were carried in the MN Colibri’s roll-on/roll-off main deck during the voyage from St. Petersburg, Russia to Kourou in French Guiana.

Feature story July 16, 2013

Arianespace’s new Chairman and CEO meets U.S. customers and satellite manufacturers

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