Soyuz enters the final countdown for Arianespace’s year-opening flight
Arianespace has commenced the final countdown for tonight’s medium-lift Soyuz mission from the Spaceport in French Guiana, which is to place the Hispasat 36W-1 telecommunications relay platform into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).
Fueling of Soyuz is now underway on the launch pad, with the vehicle protected by a 53-meter-tall mobile gantry. This gantry will be rolled back to its parked position one hour before liftoff, revealing the completed launcher for the first time.
Tonight’s Arianespace mission – designated VS16 in the company’s launcher family numbering system – is set for liftoff at 10:03 p.m. local time in French Guiana, with Hispasat 36W-1 to be deployed during a flight sequence lasting 32 minutes and 10 seconds.
Soyuz Flight VS16: A milestone mission
After reaching the 36 deg. West orbital position, Hispasat 36W-1 is to be operated by Hispasat – a world leader in Spanish and Portuguese broadcasting, providing relay coverage and multimedia services for continental Europe, the Canary Islands and South America.
Arianespace’s Flight VS16 – which kicks off the company’s 2017 launch activity – will be the 16th liftoff of a Soyuz since its 2011 introduction at the Spaceport, and marks this launcher’s first mission to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) from French Guiana.
More details are available in the Arianespace Launch Kit for Flight VS16: