Mission Update

Mission Update

Build-up is underway for the no. 1 Soyuz to be launched from French Guiana

Supported by two jigs, the Soyuz’ Block A core second stage is ready to receive the first of four boosters that constitute the launcher’s first stage. This photo, taken from the rear, highlights the four nozzles of the Block A’s RD-108A engine and its four vernier thrusters that are used for three-axis flight control once the boosters have separated.

September 16, 2011 – Soyuz Flight VS01

The first Soyuz to be operated from French Guiana has begun the integration process, marking a major step toward Arianespace’s introduction of the workhorse medium-lift vehicle into its launcher family at the Spaceport.

During activity this week, the Soyuz launcher’s central core Block A second stage was fitted with one of four strap-on boosters that constitute the Russian-built launcher’s first stage.

The horizontal integration is taking place inside a purpose-built Launcher Integration Building at the Spaceport, where Soyuz vehicles will undergo their initial build-up.  Once assembled, they will be rolled out to the launch pad and erected in the vertical position for installation of the upper composite – consisting of Soyuz’ Fregat upper stage and the satellite payload.

Liftoff of the historic no. 1 Soyuz from French Guiana is set for October 20 with two European Galileo navigation satellites, and will be followed by a second flight of the Russian launcher at the Spaceport in December.

This image, which is looking from the Block A second stage’s upper end, shows the initial first-stage strap-on booster following its integration. The Block A stage’s hammer-head shape enables the four strap-on boosters to be integrated around it.

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