Arianespace prepares for upcoming Soyuz and Ariane 5 missions at the Spaceport
The launch campaign for Arianespace’s upcoming medium-lift Soyuz mission with four trailblazing Internet connectivity satellites is ready for final preparation following encapsulation of the O3b Networks spacecraft at the Spaceport in French Guiana and the launcher’s rollout.
In parallel, payload checkout for the Spaceport’s subsequent flight – employing a heavy-lift Ariane 5 – has moved into full swing with arrival of the mission’s second passenger.
This activity continues the flight pace in French Guiana, building on the resources of Arianespace’s three-member launcher family: Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega.
Flight VS05’s Soyuz ST-B vehicle is raised on the Spaceport’s launch pad, where it will receive its payload of four O3b Networks satellites.
The Soyuz flight on June 24 – designated VS05 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system – will have a duration of 2 hours and 22 minutes. Rollout of the three-stage vehicle occurred today, to be followed by payload integration atop the Soyuz.
After the powered phases for the Soyuz ST-B vehicle’s first three stages, the Fregat-MT upper stage will perform four burns, allowing deployment of the O3b spacecraft.
The Soyuz’ total lift performance for Flight VS05 is estimated at 3,200 kg., which includes a combined mass of approximately 2,800 kg. for the four satellites.
Once operational, these Ka-band relay platforms will initiate the constitution of a satellite constellation to provide telecommunications and Internet services combining high speed and low costs for billions of people across the world who do not yet have adequate internet access.
Separately, French Guiana yesterday welcomed the second satellite for Flight VA214 – an Ariane 5 mission planned in the second half of July. This is Europe’s Alphasat, which is one of the world’s most sophisticated communications satellites. Built by Astrium as prime contractor, Alphasat carries a new-generation advanced mobile L-band communications payload, along with four technological demonstration payloads for the European Space Agency (ESA).
Alphasat will weigh more than six metric tons at launch and is to be operated under an agreement between the European Space Agency and European commercial satellite operator Inmarsat.
Alphasat will be orbited on Flight VA214 along with INSAT-3D, built by India’s space agency – the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Alphasat was delivered to French Guiana aboard a chartered Antonov An-124 jetliner. This view is from inside the aircraft as Alphasat is moved out for its transfer by road to the Spaceport.