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Soyuz November 5, 2018

Soyuz receives the “go” for Arianespace’s November 6 liftoff with the Metop-C meteorological satellite

The Arianespace Soyuz mission that will orbit the third and final spacecraft in EUMETSAT’s current generation polar-orbiting weather satellite program has been authorized for tomorrow’s launch from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

Approval for liftoff was given at the conclusion of today’s launch readiness review, which verified the “go” status of Soyuz, its Metop-C satellite passenger, the Spaceport’s infrastructure and the network of downrange tracking stations.

The November 6 mission – designated VS19 in Arianespace’s numbering system – will be performed from the Spaceport’s purpose-built ELS launch facility for Soyuz. Liftoff is scheduled at precisely 9:47:27 p.m. local time in French Guiana, with Metop-C to be deployed into a polar sun-synchronous orbit during a flight sequence lasting approximately one hour.

Tomorrow’s launch will be the 19th mission from French Guiana for Arianespace’s medium-lift Soyuz, as well as the company’s eighth flight in 2018 with its three-vehicle launcher family – which is completed by the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and lightweight Vega.

Essential for numerical weather prediction

Built by Airbus Defence and Space, Metop-C continues the European Meteorological Operational program of polar-orbiting spacecraft operated by EUMETSAT, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.

Metop satellites are essential for numerical weather prediction from 12 hours to 10 days in advance. The still-operational Metop-A and Metop-B satellites – launched on Soyuz vehicles from Baikonour in 2006 and 2012, respectively, by Starsem (Arianespace’s European-Russian joint-venture) – make the single biggest contribution to reducing errors in weather forecasts one day in advance. Metop-C is expected to enhance this performance upon entering service.

Metop-C will be injected into a sun-synchronous “mid-morning” polar orbit which enables global observation of weather, atmospheric composition, oceans and land surfaces. Metop-C will have a five-year nominal life in orbit and will carry a payload of nine state-of-the-art instruments.

After its deployment by Soyuz, the satellite is to undergo approximately six-weeks of commissioning, during which the proper operation of the spacecraft and its instrumentation is verified.


Liftoff time for Flight VS19:

French Guiana UTC Washington, D.C. Tokyo Paris
9:47:27 p.m.
on Nov. 6
on Nov. 7
7:47:27 p.m.
on Nov. 6
9:47:27 a.m.
on Nov. 7
1:47:27 a.m.
on Nov. 7


More details are available in the VS19 launch kit:

Soyuz Flight VS19
PDF / 3 MB

EUMETSAT website:

Airbus website – Space:

Soyuz November 2, 2018

Improving weather forecasting: Soyuz reaches the launch zone for Arianespace’s upcoming flight with Metop-C

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