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Soyuz December 9, 2019

Preparations for Arianespace’s year-ending Soyuz mission enter the payload integration phase

The three auxiliary payloads on Arianespace’s Flight VS23 make initial contact with launch vehicle hardware in this series of photos. Shown from left to right: ANGELS, OPS-SAT and EyeSat.

Payload integration has begun for Arianespace’s ninth and final flight of 2019, which will orbit innovative satellite solutions for European institutional needs using a Soyuz launch vehicle.

To be performed December 17 from the Spaceport in French Guiana, the upcoming mission will deploy a primary passenger into sun-synchronous orbit – COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation and a secondary payload, the Characterising Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS) – along three auxiliary payloads: OPS-SAT, EyeSat and ANGELS (Argos Néo on a Generic Economical and Light Satellite).

Preparations to date – including separate assembly, fit-check and fueling milestones (where appropriate) – cleared the way for the start of payload integration, with CHEOPS to be installed inside the ASAP-S multi-passenger dispenser system and the auxiliary payloads to be assembled on the ASAP-S platform.

The dispenser system then will be integrated on Soyuz’ Fregat upper stage, followed by integration of COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation atop it. At this point, the combined unit will be encapsulated in Soyuz’ protective payload fairing.

A morning liftoff for Soyuz

Next week’s launch is set for a December 17 liftoff in the morning hours from the Spaceport’s Soyuz Launch Complex (ELS) in Sinnamary, French Guiana. The mission is designated Flight VS23 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system, signifying the 23rd Soyuz liftoff from the Spaceport.

Flight VS23 follows two Arianespace medium-lift Soyuz flights performed from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana – one orbiting OneWeb connectivity spacecraft in February; and the other lofting O3b constellation satellites two months later. Overall, it will be the ninth flight this year using the company’s full family of launchers, which also includes the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and lightweight Vega.

  • Larger versions of the photos above are available in the Gallery.


Liftoff times for Flight VS23:

French Guiana
(Universal Time)
5:54:20 a.m.
on Dec. 17
on Dec. 17
3:54:20 a.m.
on Dec. 17
9:54:20 a.m.
on Dec. 17
9:54:20 a.m.
on Dec. 17
11:54:20 a.m.
on Dec. 17


More details are available in the VS23 launch kit:

Soyuz Flight VS23
PDF / 2 MB

Italian Space Agency website:

Thales Alenia Space website:

The European Space Agency website:

Airbus website, space activities:

CNES website:

Tyvak website:

Soyuz October 18, 2019

Payloads for Arianespace’s next two launches are welcomed in French Guiana

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