Arianespace’s launcher family cadence: Ariane 5 joins Soyuz in mission preparations at the Spaceport
The Spaceport is once again handling parallel campaigns with two different members of the Arianespace launcher family, as a heavy-lift Ariane 5 has moved to the Final Assembly Building to be readied for its December 19 flight, while a medium-lift Soyuz is now complete at a separate complex in French Guiana for a nighttime launch this Friday.
Arianespace’s mission with Ariane 5 is to orbit the Mexsat Bicentenario telecommunications satellite for Mexico and the European Skynet 5D military relay platform. The launch is designated Flight VA211 in the company’s numbering system, signifying the upcoming 211th liftoff of an Ariane family vehicle from the Spaceport.
With the transfer of Flight VA211’s Ariane 5 to the Final Assembly Building within the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch complex today, it will be ready to receive the dual payload for Arianespace’s seventh flight with the heavy-lift workhorse vehicle in 2012.
In separate activity across the Spaceport in its northwestern sector, the Soyuz for Arianespace’s next medium-lift mission has been equipped with its Pléiades 1B observation satellite passenger at the ELS launch complex. This is Flight VS04, notating Soyuz’ fourth mission at the Spaceport since it entered service at the facility in October 2011 – and the second liftoff in 2012 of the Russian-built vehicle from French Guiana.