Arianespace flight VS03: Soyuz ST-B orbits two Galileo IOV-2 satellites
On Friday, October 12, at 3:15 pm local time, Arianespace successfully carried out the third launch of the Soyuz rocket from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana, orbiting two more satellites in the Galileo constellation.
Europe and Russia: a successful partnership
The “Soyuz at CSG” program carries on the long partnership in space programs between Europe and Russia. It gives Europe access to a proven medium launch vehicle that is a perfect fit with the other two launchers in the Arianespace family, Ariane 5 and Vega. With these three launchers, Arianespace is the only launch services company in the world capable of carrying 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, the benchmark launch provider for Galileo
Ariane launched the first two satellites in the Galileo constellation on October 21, 2011, with the first Soyuz launch from the Guiana Space Center. Previously, the company’s subsidiary Starsem had launched the first two testbed satellites, Giove-1 and Giove-2 (Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element), which secured the frequencies allocated to the constellation. The European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) have placed orders with Arianespace to launch the 22 other satellites in the Galileo constellation. They will be launched from the Guiana Space Center starting next year, using five Soyuz and three Ariane 5 rockets. Galileo gives Europe its own satellite positioning and navigation system, supporting a large number of applications. Once the system is fully operational, it will generate significant economic benefits, and greatly improve the quality of life for European citizens.
VS03/Soyuz ST-B/Galileo IOV-2 mission at a glance
The Soyuz launcher lifted off from the Soyuz Launch Complex (ELS) at the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana. Liftoff was on Friday, October 12 at 3:15:01 pm local time in Kourou (18:15:01 UT, 8:15:01 pm in Paris, 2:15:01 pm in Washington, D.C., and 10:15:01 pm in Moscow). The mission, from liftoff to satellite separation, lasted 3 hours, 44 minutes and 57 seconds. The Galileo IOV-1 satellites were built for ESA by a consortium led by Astrium. They were injected into an intermediate circular orbit at an inclination of 55.345 degrees.
About Soyuz at CSG
The European Space Agency developed the Soyuz at CSG (Guiana Space Center) program to bolster collaboration with Russia on launch vehicles. Program responsibilities are distributed as follows:
ESA is the program manager, and provides the Soyuz launch complex (ELS) to Arianespace.
Russian space agency Roscosmos is in charge of the Russian segment of the program, and coordinates the work of all Russian companies involved.
French space agency CNES is system architect for the Soyuz at CSG program, and the design authority for all facilities at the space center.
Arianespace manages the supply of Russian systems and coordinates and supports the work of Russian companies during the development phase. It is in charge of Soyuz launch operations at CSG.
Galileo is a European program designed to develop a new global satellite navigation system under civilian control, offering a high-precision, guaranteed positioning service. The design, development and in-orbit validation (IOV) phases of the Galileo program were carried out by ESA, with joint funding by ESA and the European Commission. The Full Operational Capacity (FOC) phase is managed and wholly financed by the European Commission. The Commission and ESA have signed a delegation agreement under the terms of which ESA acts as design and procurement agent on behalf of the Commission.