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Soyuz December 16, 2014

O3b Networks’ four satellites are integrated on Soyuz for Arianespace’s December 18 flight

Integration of Flight VS10’s “upper composite” is shown in these photos from the Spaceport’s ELS launch complex at French Guiana, beginning with its delivery by a special transporter to the mobile gantry that protects Arianespace’s Soyuz (at left). This element was then hoisted (center photo) and installed atop the vehicle in the gantry’s upper level – completing the launcher build-up process (at right).

Arianespace’s next medium-lift Soyuz to be launched from French Guiana is now complete following the integration of its “upper composite,” which consists of four O3b Networks connectivity satellites, 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 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 medium-lift launch vehicle is now underway, leading to the Arianespace liftoff that is planned on Thursday, December 18 at 3:37 p.m. local time in French Guiana.

The upcoming mission’s payload – four Thales Alenia Space-produced satellites that will expand O3b Networks’ pioneering high-speed connectivity system – are to be deployed during a flight lasting 2 hrs., 22 min.

These 700-kg., Ka-band relay platforms will join eight O3b Networks spacecraft already in orbit, which were launched in clusters of four each on Arianespace Soyuz missions in July 2014 and June 2013.

Thursday’s mission is designated Flight VS10 in Arianespace’s launch vehicle numbering system, signifying the 10th liftoff of this medium-lift workhorse from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

Soyuz December 15, 2014

Soyuz is ready to receive its O3b Networks satellite payload for Arianespace’s next medium-lift mission

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