Soyuz’ “upper composite” is ready for next week’s Arianespace dual-satellite Galileo mission
The payload assembly process is now complete for Arianespace’s medium-lift Soyuz flight on May 24 from French Guiana, which is to orbit the 13th and 14th Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites at the service of Europe’s Galileo navigation system.
Installed atop Soyuz’ Fregat upper stage, the two Galileo FOC satellites and their dispenser system are shown partially encapsulated by the two-piece protective payload fairing.
Performed yesterday in the Spaceport’s S3B clean room facility, these preparations involved encapsulation of the two Galileo spacecraft and their dispenser system – which had been installed atop Soyuz’ Fregat upper stage the previous day. The encapsulation was carried out using a two-piece Soyuz-ST payload fairing, and was followed by the addition of mission logos.
This completed unit, called the “upper composite,” will be mated atop Soyuz after the workhorse vehicle’s rollout tomorrow from the MIK integration building – where launcher assembly is handled – to the ELS launch zone.
Soyuz’ latest mission for Europe
Scheduled for liftoff on May 24 at precisely 5:48:43 a.m. local time in French Guiana, Soyuz will carry out a nearly 3-hr., 48-min. mission from launch to separation of the two passengers.
Galileo is Europe’s initiative for satellite navigation. Its complete operational and ground structure will be deployed during the FOC phase, which is managed and funded by the European Commission, with the European Space Agency (ESA) delegated as the design and procurement agent on the Commission’s behalf.
Prime contractor OHB System in Bremen, Germany produced the satellites, and their onboard payloads are supplied by UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) – which is 99-percent owned by Airbus Defence and Space.