Press Release

Press Release

Arianespace VSO2 mission: Soyuz STA orbits Pleiades 1A, ELISA and SSOT

Evry, December 17, 2011

On Friday, December 16, 2011 at 11:03 pm local time, Arianespace successfully launched the second Soyuz rocket from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana, orbiting the Pleiades 1A, ELISA and SSOT satellites for French space agency CNES, Astrium and the French and Chilean defense ministries.

This latest success heralds Arianespace's upcoming offer of the most complete range of launch services in history, with the first Vega launch scheduled for early 2012.

Second successful Soyuz launch from CSG

With Ariane 5, Soyuz and shortly the Vega light launcher, all launched from the Guiana Space Center, Arianespace is the only launch services company in the world capable of launching all types of payloads to all orbits, including communications, scientific and Earth observation satellites, constellations, cargo missions to the International Space Station and more.

Arianespace carried out a total of seven missions from the Guiana Space Center in 2011, all successful, including five Ariane 5 and two Soyuz launches.

Arianespace launches for defense

Arianespace also continues its partnership with the French Ministry of Defense through this launch, which will help validate innovative satellite concepts in orbit.

Arianespace offers the best launch solutions for military payloads, and continues to set the standard in guaranteed access to space for all civil and military operators.

Pleiades 1A/ELISA/SSOT mission at a glance

The Soyuz STA launcher lifted off from the Soyuz Launch Complex (ELS) at the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana on Friday, December 16, 2011 at 11:03:48 pm local time (11:03:48 pm in Santiago, Chile, 9:03:48 pm in Washington, D.C., and on Saturday, December 17 at 02:03:48 UT, 3:03:48 am in Paris and 6:03:48 am in Moscow).

Satellite profiles: Pleiades 1A, ELISA and SSOT

French space agency CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) chose Arianespace to launch its two Earth observation satellites, Pleiades 1A and 1B. The French Ministry of Defense will be a preferred customer for the Pleiades satellites, which complement the current array of military space observation systems, and help meet the MoD's growing requirement for space imaging. Pleiades 1A is a 1-ton class satellite built by Astrium. Thales Alenia Space supplied the very high-resolution (HR) imaging instrument and image telemetry system. The Pleiades satellites offer a significant improvement in technology over previous generation satellites, based on their size, resolution, high degree of agility in orbit, and ground transmission capacity.

The four ELISA (Electronic Intelligence by Satellite) demonstrator satellites will enable French defence procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l'Armement) to test the space-based mapping of radar transmitters across the planet, while also determining the characteristics of these transmitters. The DGA and CNES are co-project authorities, and chose Astrium, with Thales Airborne Systems, to build the four satellites, each weighing about 120 kg, along with the user ground segment.

The 117kg SSOT satellite (Sistema Satelital de Observación de la Tierra) is an Earth observation system satellite based on the AstroSat-100 Platform and the Silicium Carbide NAOMI camera.  It has been designed, integrated and tested by Astrium in Toulouse (France) for the end Customer Government of Chile and main operator the Air Force of Chile (FACH: Fuerza Aérea de Chile). This high resolution system will offer dual civil and defence applications with a new-generation optical instrument.

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