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Soyuz December 14, 2019

Soyuz receives the “all clear” for Arianespace’s December 17 liftoff

Arianespace’s year-ending Soyuz mission – which will orbit innovative satellite solutions for European institutional needs – has been authorized for launch from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

Prior to integration on Soyuz, the “upper composite” – which consists of five passengers integrated with the ASAP-S dispenser system, plus the Fregat upper stage and payload fairing – was adorned with related mission and customer logos.

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

The upcoming mission – designated Flight VS23 in Arianespace’s numbering system and planned for December 17 – will be performed from the Spaceport’s purpose-built ELS launch facility for Soyuz.

Liftoff is scheduled at precisely 5:54 a.m. local time in French Guiana, with the five passengers to be deployed during a four-hour-plus flight sequence. Total lift performance to Sun-synchronous orbit is estimated at 3,250 kg.

One Soyuz, five passengers

The primary passenger for Flight VS23 – the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation Earth observation spacecraft – will be deployed first in the flight sequence. Manufactured by Thales Alenia Space, it is being launched for the Italian Space Agency (ISA) and Ministry of Defence.

CHEOPS (Characterising Exoplanet Satellite), Soyuz’ secondary passenger, is a European Space Agency (ESA) mission dedicated to studying bright, nearby stars that already are known to host exoplanets in order to make high-precision observations of the planet’s size. The spacecraft was produced by Airbus.

In addition, three auxiliary payloads are to be deployed on Flight VS23: EyeSat, for the French CNES space agency; ANGELS, for CNES and Hemeria; and OPS-SAT, for Tyvak on behalf of ESA.

  • A larger version of the photo above is available in the Gallery.


Liftoff times for Soyuz 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 Soyuz Flight 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 December 13, 2019

Soyuz receives the payload for Arianespace’s year-ending mission on December 17

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