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Soyuz December 27, 2020

Arianespace clears Soyuz for launch with France’s CSO-2 Earth observation satellite

The year-ending Arianespace flight has been authorized for tomorrow, December 28, with France’s CSO-2 satellite passenger – which is to be deployed during a mission lasting just under one hour following its 1:42 p.m. liftoff (local time) from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

The approval by Arianespace for this mission – designated as Flight VS25 in the company’s launcher family numbering system – was given at the conclusion of the launch readiness review performed today, which confirmed the preparedness of Soyuz, along with the CSO-2 satellite, the Spaceport’s launch site infrastructure, and the network of tracking stations.

This will be the medium-lift Soyuz launcher’s 25th mission from South America since its introduction at the Spaceport in October 2011. It utilizes an ST-A version of the workhorse Soyuz vehicle, with CSO-2 to be deployed into Sun-synchronous orbit.

A mission for defense and security

CSO-2 is the second of three satellites dedicated to Earth observation for defense and security in France’s Optical Space Component (CSO – Composante Spatiale Optique) program. They are being placed into polar orbits at different altitudes and will carry out two missions: reconnaissance for CSO-1 and CSO-3; and identification for CSO-2.

Flight VS25 is being performed by Arianespace for the French CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales) space agency and the DGA (Direction générale de l’armement) defense procurement agency, on behalf of the French Ministry of Defense. The predecessor CSO-1 spacecraft was orbited on an Arianespace Soyuz mission in December 2018 that also was performed from the Spaceport.

CNES is delegated as the contracting authority for the Optical Space Component program and its mission ground segment, as well as being the overall system co-architect. The space agency also is responsible for orbital positioning, in-orbit acceptance testing, and satellite operation. The DGA is contracting authority for the user ground segment’s construction and through-life maintenance, and will serve as the interface between the sensors deployed in space and the operators. Operating authority for the CSO system is assigned to the French armed forces headquarters.

Airbus Defence and Space France is prime contractor for the CSO-2 satellite, while Thales Alenia Space France supplies the optical imaging instrument.


Liftoff time for Soyuz Flight VS25:

 Washington, D.C.  Kourou, French Guiana Universal Time (UTC)
11:42:07 a.m.
on December 28
01:42:07 p.m.
on December 28
on December 28
Paris, France  Moscow, Russia Tokyo, Japan
05:42:07 p.m.
on December 28
 07:42:07 p.m.
on December 28
01:42:07 a.m.
on December 29


More details are available in the Soyuz VS25 launch kit:

Soyuz Flight VS25
PDF / 531 KB


CNES website – CSO:

DGA website:

General Staff of the French Armies (EMA):

Airbus Defence and Space website:

Thales Alenia Space website:

Soyuz December 23, 2020

Guaranteeing Europe’s access to space for defense and security: Soyuz and its CSO-2 satellite are readied for launch

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