Fueling is completed for the upper stage on Arianespace’s next Soyuz mission
The Fregat upper stage for Arianespace’s upcoming Soyuz launch has completed its fueling at the Spaceport in French Guiana and is ready to be integrated with the mission’s multi-satellite European payload.
Processing of the upper stage for Flight VS14 was performed in the Spaceport’s Fregat Fueling Facility (FCube) – which entered service last year as the latest site at French Guiana created to support Arianespace’s sustained operational cadence.
FCube reduces the time required to “top off” Fregat upper stages during Soyuz launch campaigns. It also frees up another facility previously used for Fregat upper stage fueling operations, the Spaceport’s S3 building – making the S3 facility more available for the processing of customer spacecraft to be lofted by the various members of Arianespace’s launch vehicle family.
Fregat is ready to receive the passengers for Flight VS14
Fregat is produced by NPO Lavochkin, a company which is part of the Soyuz launcher’s Russian industrial team, and serves as an autonomous and flexible upper stage that extends Soyuz’ capability to perform a full range of missions.
After its fueling in the FCube, the Fregat was transferred by road today to the Spaceport’s S3B clean room, where the upper stage will be integrated with Flight VS14’s passengers: Sentinel-1B, which will provide all-weather, day/night images as part of Europe’s Copernicus Earth observation program; France’s Microscope, designed to validate the equivalence principle described by Albert Einstein; and three miniaturized CubeSats for the European Space Agency’s Fly Your Satellite! university student program.
Flight VS14 is set for liftoff from French Guiana on April 22, deploying its multi-satellite payload during a mission lasting four hours. This will be Arianespace’s third launch in 2016, continuing the company’s pace for as many as 12 flights this year using its medium-lift Soyuz, heavy-lift Ariane 5 and lightweight Vega.