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Soyuz December 17, 2020

At launch sites 13,600 km. apart, Soyuz launchers are readied for two upcoming Arianespace missions

During activity in French Guiana, the Soyuz launcher’s third stage is integrated as preparations continue for Arianespace Flight VS25 – scheduled later this month from the Spaceport.

Two continents…separated by a 13,600-km. distance…one single goal: efficient access to space for Arianespace customers. This sentence aptly sums up the parallel preparations now underway for Arianespace’s next two missions, which utilize workhorse medium-lift Soyuz launchers.

In Russia’s Far East, the countdown is underway at Vostochny Cosmodrome for Flight ST29, which will orbit 36 OneWeb constellation satellites on December 18. The mission’s fully-assembled Soyuz has rolled out to the launch pad, ready for an evening liftoff.

Another Soyuz is taking shape in South America for a mission with a single satellite passenger, scheduled later this month from the Spaceport in French Guiana. Designated Flight VS25, it will be performed from the ELS launch pad near the town of Sinnamary in the Spaceport’s northwestern sector.

The Soyuz for Arianespace/Starsem Flight ST29 is shown on the Vostochny Cosmodrome launch pad, with the mobile gantry visible behind it.

These two Soyuz launch facilities share many similarities, including purpose-built mobile gantries that facilitate final preparations once the launcher has been raised on the pad. This differs from the fixed service structures at Soyuz’ original launch pads at Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome, which have been in operation since the 1950s, and were the location for the world’s first space flights.

Flight ST29 at Vostochny Cosmodrome is a joint mission of Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate. It will be the 29th Arianespace/Starsem flight overall since the initial “ST” mission in September 1999, and is the first such Arianespace/Starsem operation performed at a site other than Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The 36 constellation satellites to be deployed on Flight ST29 for OneWeb are installed on a dispenser system that will release these spacecraft during nine separation sequences – with a total mission duration of just under 3 hours, 52 minutes for Soyuz and its Fregat upper stage.


Liftoff time for Soyuz Flight ST29:

Moscow Vostochny Cosmodrome
Washington, D.C. UTC Paris
03:26:26 p.m.
on Dec. 18
09:26:26 p.m.
on Dec. 18
07:26:26 a.m.
on Dec. 18
on Dec. 18
01:26:26 p.m.
on Dec. 18


More details are available in the Soyuz ST29 launch kit:

Soyuz Flight ST29
PDF / 3 MB


OneWeb website:

Starsem website:

Soyuz December 14, 2020

OneWeb’s satellites are ready for a milestone launch from Vostochny Cosmodrome

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