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