O3b Networks’ initial satellite is fueled for Arianespace’s upcoming Soyuz launch from the Spaceport
The first Arianespace Soyuz mission for O3b Networks has moved into its next phase of preparations at the Spaceport, as fueling is now underway with the global satellite services provider’s spacecraft that will provide connectivity for emerging markets worldwide.
The FM4 satellite for O3b Networks is readied for fueling in the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility.
This upcoming medium-lift Soyuz launch – designated Flight VS05 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system – will orbit four O3b Networks spacecraft during a June mission from French Guiana.
Fueling was initiated with FM4 (Flight Model 4) in the launch site’s S5 payload preparation building, where the satellite was transferred after verification of its platform and payload during activity in the separate S1B clean room facility at the Spaceport.
O3b Networks’ other three satellites will follow in the fueling process, enabling them to be integrated on a dispenser system that is to deploy the cluster of spacecraft during Arianespace’s Soyuz flight.
Built by Thales Alenia Space, these spacecraft are to operate in Ka-band at a medium-orbit altitude of 8,063 km. – offering high-speed, low-cost, low-latency Internet and telecommunications services for O3b customers in emerging markets. The satellites have a trapezoidal-shaped main body that facilitates their integration on the Soyuz payload dispenser system.
In addition to the first batch of four O3b spacecraft for the upcoming Soyuz mission, another Arianespace flight is scheduled to orbit four more later this year, followed by an additional four in 2014.
The June mission will be Arianespace’s fifth Soyuz liftoff from the Spaceport since this workhorse medium-lift vehicle was introduced at French Guiana in October 2011. Soyuz is part of the company’s complete launcher family, which also includes the heavyweight Ariane 5 and light-lift Vega.