On-time preparations continue for Soyuz' milestone mission from French Guiana

Preparations for the first Soyuz launch from French Guiana are on track for its historic liftoff later this month with two Galileo navigation satellites. "We're right on the timeline, and everything is proceeding well from all aspects," said Jean-Claude Garreau, Arianespace's Launch Site Operations Manager for the mission. The basic Soyuz has been fully assembled in the Spaceport's MIK Integration Building, with its horizontal build-up process completed ahead of schedule, Garreau said. Three elements have been integrated to create this basic vehicle: the launcher's second stage central core, the four first-stage boosters that are clustered around it, and the centerline third stage. With this integration step complete, Soyuz is ready for rollout to the launch pad and erection to the vertical position, where its upper composite - consisting of the Fregat MT upper stage, the two Galileo satellites and a protective payload fairing - will be installed. Integration activity for the upper composite is underway in one of the Spaceport's clean room facilities, where the Fregat stage has been fueled and is ready for mating with the pair of Galileo satellites. On the October 20 mission, the Soyuz ST-B launcher will deploy its two-passenger payload into a 23,222 km. orbit. The Galileo satellites are to ride side-by-side on a dispenser, with a pyrotechnic separation system used to release them in opposite directions.

Source: Arianespace
Date: Oct 10, 2011