Pre-launch processing begins for the O3b Networks satellites to be orbited on Arianespace’s upcoming Soyuz flight
The next four satellites to serve O3b Networks in providing emerging market connectivity worldwide have entered their checkout phase at the Spaceport in French Guiana, readying them for launch on an Arianespace Soyuz mission planned for late June/early July.
These spacecraft are now inside the Spaceport’s S1B clean room facility, and are being removed from the individual shipping containers that protected them during a trans-Atlantic cargo jetliner flight from Europe to the equatorial launch site.
The O3b Networks satellites were produced by Thales Alenia Space, and have a trapezoidal-shaped main body to facilitate their integration on the Soyuz vehicle’s payload dispenser system. Outfitted with Ka-band transponders, the four spacecraft are to be positioned after launch at a medium-orbit altitude of 8,062 km.
This upcoming Soyuz mission is designated Flight VS08 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, signifying the eighth liftoff of the medium-lift workhorse from the Spaceport since its 2011 introduction at French Guiana.
Arianespace orbited the initial four O3b Networks satellites on another Soyuz mission performed in June 2013. It marked the first step in O3b Networks’ creation of a space-based constellation to provide billions of consumers and businesses in nearly 180 countries with low-cost, high-speed, low latency Internet and mobile connectivity – delivering services over Asia, Africa, South America, Australia and the Middle East.
Soyuz is part of Arianespace’s three-member launcher family, which also includes the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and lightweight Vega – which also are operated at the Spaceport.