A new countdown for Soyuz’ first flight from the Spaceport
The countdown to Soyuz’ maiden flight from French Guiana will resume for a liftoff tomorrow morning after work on the launch pad resolved a ground support system anomaly that postponed the historic mission for 24 hours.
The no. 1 Soyuz for launch from French Guiana is seen through the open doors of its mobile service gantry.
This anomaly was identified as a leak in a launch pad pneumatic system responsible for the programmed disconnection of Soyuz’ third stage fueling lines before the vehicle lifts off.
With the issue resolved, the liftoff is now set for October 21 at 7:30:26 a.m. local time in French Guiana – a precise moment that enables the payload of two Galileo satellites to be injected into their proper orbital plane.
Soyuz’ 3-hr. 49-min. flight from the Spaceport will inject the In-Orbit Validation (IOV) spacecraft for Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system into a 23,222-km. circular medium-Earth orbit, inclined 54.7 degrees.
Weighing approximately 700 kg. each, these satellites – along with two others to be lofted by Soyuz in 2012 – will form the operational nucleus of Europe’s full 30-satellite Galileo navigation constellation, which is being developed in a collaborative program involving the European Space Agency and European Union.