Payload fueling begins for Arianespace’s Soyuz flight with the next four O3b Networks satellites
The upcoming Arianespace Soyuz mission for O3b Networks has entered its next phase of preparations, as fueling is now underway in French Guiana with this global satellite service provider’s second batch of spacecraft – which will deliver connectivity to emerging markets worldwide.
Fueling of these four satellites, which is taking place inside the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation building, will be completed in separate processes – clearing the way for integration on a dispenser system that will deploy each during Arianespace’s July 10 flight with its workhorse Soyuz launcher.
Thales Alenia Space produced the O3b Networks spacecraft, which have a trapezoidal-shaped main body to facilitate their installation on the Soyuz dispenser. Equipped with Ka-band transponders, the satellites are to be positioned after launch at a medium-orbit altitude of 8,062 km.
O3b Networks’ initial four satellites were orbited on another Arianespace Soyuz mission performed in June 2013. It marked the first step in O3b Networks’ creation of a space-based constellation to provide billions of consumers and businesses in nearly 180 countries with low-cost, high-speed, low latency Internet and mobile connectivity – delivering services over Asia, Africa, South America, Australia and the Middle East.
The approaching July 10 mission is designated Flight VS08 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, signifying the eighth liftoff of the medium-lift Soyuz from the Spaceport since its 2011 introduction at French Guiana.