Soyuz & Vega at the Spaceport
The Spaceport welcomes its second large shipment of Soyuz launch site hardware
January 13, 2009
Another major shipment of hardware and systems for the Spaceport’s new Soyuz launch site is now in French Guiana as preparations continue for the medium-lift vehicle’s maiden flight, scheduled for late this year.
This new consignment arrived aboard the Flinterland sea-going vessel, which docked at the Port of Degrad-des-Cannes near the French Guiana capital city of Cayenne on January 8. The unloading of its 125 containers and boxes was completed yesterday, with the hardware and material transferred by road to the Spaceport.
This is the second major delivery of material transported aboard the Flinterland from St. Petersburg, Russia, and it contained a significant portion the remaining Russian-built ground systems required for the Soyuz launch site’s completion.
Included in this shipment are the support booms that sustain an erected Soyuz vehicle for launch. These booms help stabilize Soyuz in its suspended position when installed over the launch pad. As the vehicle lifts off, the support booms track the launcher’s initial movement, then swivel away as Soyuz begins its ascent.
Also arriving aboard the Flinterland were the mobile delivery systems for the Soyuz propellant load’s hydrogen peroxide component.
With this latest shipment, the Dutch-flagged Flinterland has completed its support role in the preparation of the Soyuz launch site. The vessel initially brought a load of 161 containers from St. Petersburg to Cayenne in July 2008, which included the launch site’s service cabin – a major element that provides access to the vehicle on the pad.
Additional cargo loads will be carried on upcoming voyages, including the MN Colibri and MN Toucan sea-going vessels that are regularly operated on behalf of Arianespace for its shipment of Ariane launchers from Europe to French Guiana. The two upcoming voyages include the Soyuz launch site’s massive cryogenic propellant storage reservoirs, propellant feed systems for the Fregat upper stage, along with the initial two Soyuz launch vehicles.