Arianespace’s Soyuz is approved for its March 27 flight to deploy two Galileo navigation satellites
Authorization has been given for tomorrow’s Arianespace Soyuz launch from French Guiana, providing the “green light” for this medium-lift mission that will further expand Europe’s Galileo global navigation satellite system.
The approval was granted today after the regular pre-launch review for Arianespace flights – which confirmed the readiness of Soyuz and its payload of two Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) spacecraft, the launch site and associated infrastructure at the Spaceport, as well as the network of downrange tracking stations.
This March 27 mission – designated VS11 in Arianespace’s numbering system – will be performed from the purpose-built ELS launch facility for Soyuz. Its liftoff is scheduled at precisely 6:46:18 p.m. local time in French Guiana, with the Galileo satellites to be deployed during a flight lasting approximately 3 hrs., 47 min.
Produced by OHB System, these relay platforms – which are the constellation’s third and fourth FOC satellites for launch, and the seventh and eighth Galileo spacecraft to be lofted overall – weigh some 715 kg. each and will operate in medium-Earth orbit. Their navigation payloads were supplied by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.
The Galileo navigation system provides highly accurate global positioning services under civilian control. The European Commission is funding and managing its FOC phase, during which the network’s complete operational and ground infrastructure will be deployed; with the European Space Agency designated as the system’s design and procurement agent.
Flight VS11 will be Arianespace’s second mission performed in 2015 (following a lightweight Vega launch in February), as well as the 11th Soyuz liftoff performed from French Guiana since this workhorse vehicle’s 2011 introduction at the Spaceport.