The Spaceport is operating at the rhythm of Soyuz as components for three upcoming missions with Arianespace’s medium-lift vehicle have now arrived in French Guiana, joining a completed launcher that is poised for liftoff tomorrow.
Delivered this month was hardware for the fourth, fifth and sixth Soyuz flights to be performed from the Spaceport – designated VS04, VS05 and VS06 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system. This includes the third stage and payload fairing for Arianespace’s VS04 flight, scheduled in November; along with the first, second and third stages, Fregat upper stages and payload fairings for the VS05 and VS06 Soyuz missions, planned for 2013.
The hardware arrived aboard the MN Colibri, which is one of two sea-going roll-on/roll-off ships utilized for the transport of launcher components from Europe and Russia to French Guiana.
With this latest delivery, the Spaceport now is “home” to four Soyuz vehicles, beginning with the completed VS03 launcher that is ready for an afternoon departure tomorrow with a pair of Galileo In-Orbit Validation (IOV) navigation satellites.
As the countdown continues for VS03, preparations are moving into full swing for late November’s VS04 flight, to carry France’s Pléiades 2 very high resolution optical observation satellite. Build-up of the basic three-stage Soyuz for VS04 will be initiated next week in the Spaceport’s MIK assembly building, while this mission’s Fregat upper stage has completed its checkout in the MIK facility and is now ready for transfer to the S3B clean room for fueling during the coming week.
Arianespace has demonstrated Soyuz’ mission capabilities from the Spaceport in its two flights performed to date, beginning with the historic VS01 inaugural French Guiana launch in October 2011 that orbited the first two Galileo IOV satellites. It was followed by VS02 in December 2011, lofting France’s Pléiades 1 platform along with the Chilean SSOT satellite and four French ELISA micro-satellite demonstrators.
Date: Oct 12, 2012