A focus of activity for Arianespace's second Soyuz flight from French Guiana is now on the Spaceport's S3B clean room facility, where the medium-lift launcher's Fregat upper stage is being readied for fueling.
Fregat is an autonomous and highly flexible orbital vehicle that can be restarted up to 20 times in flight - enabling it to carry out complex mission profiles.
Built by the Lavochkin Research and Production Association, the Fregat upper stage has an array of six welded spherical tanks -- with four spheres serving as the propellant tanks, while the other two operate as sealed instrumentation bays containing the flight control system, along with radio and telemetry systems.
To support the new Soyuz launch activity in French Guiana, the S3B facility has been configured for the final preparation of Fregat upper stages and payload integration. It is the location where Fregat is fueled, and contains the integration stand where satellite passengers are installed atop the upper stage, along with the payload fairing.
For Arianespace's second Soyuz launch, the mission will carry the French CNES space agency's Pleiades optical Earth observation satellite, accompanied by four French Elisa micro-satellite demonstrators for defense-related electronic intelligence gathering (ELINT), and the Chilean SSOT (Sistema satelital de Observacion de la Tierra) optical satellite for civilian and defense Earth observation. Liftoff is scheduled for December 16.
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