On Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at 4:27 pm local time in French Guiana, Arianespace successfully carried out the fifth Soyuz launch from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), orbiting the first four satellites in the O3b constellation for the operator O3b Networks Limited.
Fifth successful Soyuz launch from CSG
The Soyuz at CSG program carries on the long-standing collaboration between Europe and Russia on space programs, and gives Europe a medium-lift launch vehicle which perfectly complements its Ariane 5 and Vega launchers. With these three launchers now fully operational, Arianespace is the only launch services company capable of launching all payloads into all orbits: telecommunications satellites, science and Earth observation satellites, constellations, cargo missions to the International Space Station, etc. Arianespace has already launched two Ariane 5 rockets in 2013, orbiting the ATV Albert Einstein for the International Space Station and two telecommunications satellites (Amazonas-3 and Azerspace-AfricaSat-1A).
It has also launched two Vega rockets with satellites dedicated to sustainable development (Proba-V, VNREDSat-1 and ESTCube-1). At the same time, Arianespace and its subsidiary Starsem orbited the last six satellites in the Globalstar constellation from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in February.
Arianespace helps reduce the digital divide
Through this latest successful launch, Arianespace continues its partnership with new operators, by orbiting innovative new satellites. Just a few minutes after the announcement of the orbital injection of the four O3b satellites, Stéphane Israël, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace, said “We’re very proud to be part of this wonderful project that will reduce the digital divide among populations in equatorial regions. I would like to personally thank O3b, a key customer for Arianespace, for placing their trust in us.
The next Soyuz launch will orbit the next four satellites in this constellation. Well done Thales Alenia Space for the timely availability of the satellites and to our Russian partners for the reliability of the Soyuz launcher. Join us again soon with Soyuz in French Guiana for the second stage in the deployment of this constellation.”
Soyuz ST-B – O3b launch at a glance
The Soyuz ST-B launcher lifted off from the Soyuz launch complex (ELS) at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana at 4:27:03 pm local time on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 (3:27:03 pm in Washington, D.C., 19:27:03 UTC, 9:27:03 pm in Paris and 11:27:03 pm in Moscow).
The constellation of satellites operated by O3b Networks Limited, injected today into an equatorial orbit, will provide broadband Internet access to emerging markets in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Pacific and the Middle East, totaling nearly 180 countries. O3b Networks will provide telecommunications operators with connectivity for mobile networks at rates and response times comparable to those for fiber-optic networks. Orbiting at an altitude of 8,063 km, these Ka-band satellites will offer telecommunications and Internet connection services combining high speed and low costs for billions of inhabitants who do not yet have access to broadband Internet. The satellites in the O3b constellation, each weighing about 700 kg, were designed, tested and integrated by Thales Alenia Space.