Soyuz Reaches the Launch Zone for This Week's Mission

The Soyuz for Arianespace’s next medium-lift mission has arrived at the launch zone in French Guiana, where it stands ready to receive the multi-satellite payload that will be lofted on this April 22 flight.

Applying procedures that have been followed since the workhorse Soyuz launcher ushered in the Space Age, the basic three-stage vehicle emerged today from its MIK integration building in the Spaceport’s northwestern sector.

Riding horizontally on a transporter/erector rail car, Soyuz was then transferred to the Spaceport’s ELS launch zone – which was followed by its erection to the vertical orientation and positioning over the launch pad, suspended in place by four large support arms.

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With the transfer completed, all was ready for the mobile gantry to be moved into position around Soyuz. This purpose-built, 53-meter-tall structure provides a protected environment for installation of the launcher’s “upper composite,” which consists of the multiple satellite passengers, Fregat upper stage and two-piece protective payload fairing.

To be lofted on the April 22 mission – which is designated VS14 in Arianespace’s numbering system – is Sentinel-1B, which will provide all-weather, day/night images as part of Europe’s Copernicus Earth observation program; France’s Microscope, designed to validate the equivalence principle described by Albert Einstein; and three miniaturized CubeSats for the European Space Agency’s Fly Your Satellite! university student program.

Flight VS14 is scheduled to lift off at precisely 6:02:13 p.m. local time in French Guiana, with its passengers to be deployed during a flight lasting approximately four hours after liftoff. The total payload lift performance is estimated at 3,099 kg.

Source: Arianespace
Date: Apr 20, 2016