The new launch date is announced for Arianespace’s Soyuz mission with Gaia
Arianespace’s next Soyuz flight from French Guiana is now scheduled for liftoff on December 20, with the adjusted launch date enabling the switch-out of two transponders on the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia star-mapper payload.
Following the deployment by Soyuz, Gaia – which has been readied for launch at the Spaceport in French Guiana – will operate from the second Lagrange point (L2) in its orbit around the Sun.
This new planning was announced today in full agreement with ESA, which developed Gaia for its mission to chart a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way. In the process, it will reveal the galaxy’s composition, formation and evolution.
Built by Astrium, the scientific satellite will collect a massive amount of data over its planned five-year mission – providing enough information to answer questions related to the origin, structure and evolutionary history of the galaxy.
Two transponders that generate timing signals for downlinking Gaia’s science telemetry have required modification, resulting in a delay that puts Flight VS06’s liftoff after the launch of Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission – Flight VA216 – which is now scheduled for December 6, carrying SES’ ASTRA 5B and the Amazonas 4A satellite for HISPASAT as its passengers.