Soyuz receives the “go” for Arianespace’s March 9 liftoff with O3b MEO satellites
Authorization has been given for tomorrow’s Arianespace Soyuz launch from French Guiana, providing the “all clear” for this medium-lift mission that will orbit four O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites.
Approval was granted today after the regular pre-launch review for Arianespace flights – which confirmed the readiness of Soyuz and its multi-satellite payload, the launch site and associated infrastructure at the Spaceport, as well as the network of downrange tracking stations.
The March 9 mission – designated VS18 in Arianespace’s numbering system – will be performed from the purpose-built ELS launch facility for Soyuz. Liftoff is scheduled at precisely 1:37:06 p.m. local time in French Guiana, with the four passengers to be deployed during a flight lasting approximately 2 hrs., 22 min.
After their launch by Arianespace, the O3b spacecraft will be operated by SES Networks to provide the world with low latency, fiber-like connectivity in the growing mobility, fixed data and government markets. The trapezoidal-shaped Ka-band relay platforms, produced by Thales Alenia Space, have a liftoff mass of 700 kg. each.
Twelve O3b satellites currently are in orbit, launched by Arianespace utilizing its medium-lift Soyuz workhorse to carry four spacecraft each on launches that began in June 2013, followed by missions in July and December 2014.
A larger version of the photo above is available for downloading in the Gallery.
More details are available in the VS18 launch kit: