The O3b Networks payload “cluster” takes form for Arianespace’s upcoming Soyuz launch
Payload integration is underway for the four O3b Networks connectivity satellites to be orbited by Arianespace on its next Soyuz mission, scheduled for liftoff on July 10 from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
This integration involves a step-by-step installation of the spacecraft on a tube-shaped dispenser system, with the activity taking place inside the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility.
The dispenser will release O3b Networks’ four satellites into a medium-altitude Earth orbit during the mission, enabling these platforms to join the company’s initial batch of connectivity spacecraft lofted by Arianespace aboard another Soyuz in June 2013.
Thales Alenia Space produced the Ka-band relay platforms, which have a liftoff mass of approximately 700 kg. each and will create a constellation providing telecommunications and Internet services over Asia, Africa, South America, Australia and the Middle East – combining the global reach of satellite coverage with the speed of a fiber-optic network.
The July 10 flight will be Arianespace’s eighth mission from French Guiana with its workhorse medium-lift Soyuz, and carries the VS08 designation in the company’s launcher family numbering system. Soyuz joins Arianespace’s other two launchers in service at the Spaceport: the heavy-lift Ariane 5, and lightweight Vega.