Feature story

Feature story

From final countdown to payload deployment: A spectacular video of Arianespace’s Soyuz mission with Sentinel-1A


As seen by two downward-looking cameras on opposite sides of Soyuz, the launcher begins its ascent from the Spaceport in French Guiana with the Sentinel-1A satellite payload.


April 5, 2014

Remarkable images from on-board cameras provide a detailed “ride-along” view of Arianespace’s Flight VS07, which orbited Europe’s Sentinel-1A from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

Recorded during the 23-minute mission on April 3, multiple cameras covered the action from final countdown to separation of the mission’s payload. 

The Arianespace/European Space Agency/Roscosmos-copyrighted video begins with the pre-launch steps as seen from two cameras – mounted on opposite sides of the medium-lift launcher.

Looking down from the launcher’s upper portion, the opening sequence includes separation of umbilical connections for Soyuz’ Fregat upper stage, followed by the tilt-back of two umbilical masts.  One of these masts provides fluids and electrical connections for the launcher’s Block I third stage, while the second mast services the Soyuz vehicle’s Block A core stage.   

Soyuz’ engine ignition is clearly seen in the video with the startup sequence for the first stage’s four boosters and central core second-stage.  This is followed by liftoff and the opening of four arms that supported the vehicle while on the pad – and which are opened by Soyuz’ upward movement.

Major steps during the flight trajectory as shown by the video are the jettison of Soyuz’ first stage boosters; separation of the two-piece payload fairing that protected Sentinel-1A during the initial ascent (as viewed by an upward-looking camera); dropoff of the second and third stages; and the mission-concluding deployment of Sentinel-1A by Fregat for operation in Sun-synchronous orbit.

Flight VS07 was Arianespace’s seventh mission with the medium-lift vehicle from French Guiana, and its Sentinel-1A passenger is the first for a family of dedicated missions to form the core of Europe’s Copernicus environmental monitoring network.

The two downward-looking cameras capture the moment that Soyuz’ first stage boosters are jettisoned from the launcher, which occurred at just under two minutes into Flight VS07.

 

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