Galileo spacecraft are integrated for their Arianespace Soyuz launch on March 27
The next medium-lift Soyuz to be launched from French Guiana is now complete following the integration of its “upper composite” – which consists of two Galileo satellite passengers, their protective payload fairing and the Fregat upper stage.
This activity was performed at the Spaceport’s ELS launch complex. It began with the upper composite’s transfer yesterday from the S3B payload preparation facility to the launch pad on a special transporter, and was followed by its hoisting to the upper level of a purpose-built mobile gantry – which provides a protected environment for the vertical installation atop Soyuz.
Final checkout of the completed launch vehicle is now underway, leading up to the Arianespace liftoff that is planned on Friday, March 27 at precisely 6:46:18 p.m. local time in French Guiana.
The mission’s payload – a pair of Full Operational Capability (FOC) spacecraft that will further expand Europe’s Galileo global navigation satellite system – are to be deployed during a flight lasting approximately 3 hrs., 47 min.
OHB System built the two spacecraft in Bremen, Germany as prime contractor. Their navigation payloads, which will generate the precision positioning measurements and services to users worldwide, were supplied by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. in Guildford, UK.
Galileo’s FOC phase – during which the network’s complete operational and ground infrastructure will be deployed – is being managed and funded by the European Commission, with the European Space Agency delegated as the design and procurement agent on the Commission’s behalf.