Arianespace’s Soyuz is approved for its early morning liftoff on May 24
The Arianespace Soyuz mission that will further expand Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation constellation has been authorized for tomorrow’s launch from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
Soyuz has been cleared for Arianespace’s May 24 liftoff with the latest two Galileo FOC (Full Operational Capability) satellites, which are contained in the “upper composite” – shown here during its integration atop the launcher.
Approval for the early morning liftoff was given at the conclusion of today’s Launch Readiness Review, which verified the “go” status of Soyuz, its two Galileo satellite passengers, the Spaceport’s infrastructure and the network of downrange tracking stations.
The May 24 mission – designated VS15 in Arianespace’s numbering system – will be performed from the Spaceport’s purpose-built ELS launch facility for Soyuz. Liftoff is scheduled at precisely 5:48:43 a.m. local time in French Guiana, with the two Galileo spacecraft to be deployed during a flight sequence lasting approximately 3 hrs., 47 min.
Produced by OHB System, these relay platforms – which are the European constellation’s 13th and 14th satellites for launch – weigh an estimated 714 kg. each and will operate in medium-Earth orbit. Their navigation payloads were supplied by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd., which is 99-percent owned by Airbus Defence and Space.
The Galileo navigation system provides highly accurate global positioning services under civilian control. The European Commission is funding and managing its FOC (Full Operational Capability) phase, during which the network’s complete operational and ground infrastructure will be deployed; with the European Space Agency designated as the system’s design and procurement agent.
Tomorrow’s launch will be the 15th mission from French Guiana for Arianespace’s medium-lift Soyuz, as well as the company’s fourth flight in 2016 with its three-vehicle launcher family – which is completed by the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and lightweight Vega.