Thu, Dec 15, 2011
Vehicle Rolled Out Of Assembly Building For December 16
In what is becoming an increasingly familiar sight at the
Spaceport, another Soyuz is now erected on the launch pad and ready
to receive its multi-passenger payload for Arianespace’s
Friday night mission from French Guiana.
Arianespace Soyuz Launch Facility
This vehicle – which is currently composed of the
integrated first, second and third stages – rolled out of its
MIK assembly facility today using the same horizontal transfer
process employed for 1,780 other Soyuz flights performed with the
workhorse medium-lift launcher. The Soyuz was then raised to its
vertical position over the massive concrete launch pad, and
suspended in place by a system of four support arms.
All is ready for the final launch campaign steps that are
specific to the Russian-built vehicle’s operations in French
Guiana: the integration of its “upper composite”
containing the mission’s six satellite passengers, the Fregat
upper stage and the ST-type payload fairing; which will be
performed inside a purpose-built mobile service gantry.
This second Soyuz flight from the Spaceport will orbit the
French Pléiades 1 and Chilean SSOT Earth observation
satellites, both developed for civilian and defense
image-gathering, along with four French Elisa micro-satellite
demonstrators for defense-related electronic intelligence
gathering. These payloads were integrated last week in the
Spaceport’s S3B clean room, with the combined six-spacecraft
cluster installed atop Soyuz’ Fregat upper stage using a
dispenser system developed for Arianespace, followed by their
encapsulation in the ST-type payload fairing.
The December 16 launch is scheduled for a liftoff at 2303 local
time, and will deliver the payloads into circular orbits inclined
98 deg. Payload lift performance for the Soyuz is calculated at
4,800 pounds, which includes approximately 3,100 pounds for the
Pleiades 1, ELISA and SSOT satellites, along with the mass of the
payload dispenser and integration hardware.
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