Soyuz integration is fully underway for Arianespace’s milestone launch with four O3b Networks satellites
The upper and lower segments of Soyuz’ core second stage are mated in the Spaceport’s MIK launcher integration building. The distinctive “hammerhead” shape enables Soyuz’ four second-stage boosters to be clustered around the core stage, as shown during the installation process.
The Soyuz launcher for Arianespace’s next medium-lift mission is rapidly taking shape at French Guiana as this vehicle undergoes its build-up for a June flight with the first four satellites in O3b Networks’ connectivity constellation.
During activity this week in the Spaceport’s MIK launcher integration building for Soyuz, the vehicle’s core second stage was completed with the mating of its upper and lower sections. Today, team members installed two of Soyuz’ four first-stage boosters, which are clustered around the core stage.
These integration steps are performed with the Soyuz aligned in horizontal jigs positioned with the MIK facility’s floor-level rail system, and will be followed by mating of the launcher’s centerline third stage.
Once completed, the Soyuz will be ready for its rollout to the Spaceport’s ELS launch pad, where it will be raised to the vertical position – preparing it for integration of the O3b Networks satellite payload, performed with the protection of a 53-meter-tall mobile gantry.
The O3b Networks satellites to be orbited on Arianespace’s June 24 mission were built by Thales Alenia Space, and are to be positioned at a medium-Earth orbit altitude of 8,063 km. Operating in Ka-band, these spacecraft will become part of O3b Networks’ system that offers high-speed, low-cost, low-latency Internet and telecommunications services for customers in emerging markets.
This Soyuz flight will be Arianespace’s fifth with the medium-lift vehicle from the Spaceport since its introduction at French Guiana in October 2011. Soyuz is part of the company’s complete launcher family, which also includes the heavyweight Ariane 5 and light-lift Vega.
In addition to the first batch of O3b spacecraft to be lofted during the June mission, another Arianespace flight is scheduled to orbit four more later this year for O3b Networks, followed by an additional four in 2014.
Quelle: arianespace, o3b
O3b Networks’ four satellites are integrated on Soyuz for Arianespace’s next mission from French Guiana
Soyuz Flight VS05
The fifth Soyuz to be launched from French Guiana is now complete following the integration of its upper composite consisting of four O3b Networks satellites, their protective payload fairing and the Fregat upper stage.
This activity was performed at the Spaceport’s ELS launch complex near the town of Sinnamary, beginning with the composite’s transfer on a special transporter, followed by hoisting to the upper level of a purpose-built mobile gantry.
Final checkout of the Soyuz is now underway, leading to the Arianespace liftoff planned on Monday, June 24 at precisely 3:53:51 p.m., local time in French Guiana.
The cluster of four O3b Networks satellites to be orbited on Arianespace’s upcoming flight will initiate the creation of a next-generation satellite network for telecommunications operators, Internet service providers, enterprise and government customers in emerging markets.
A total of 12 O3b Networks satellites are to be orbited by Arianespace in groups of four, with the next mission planned for later this year, and another in 2014. These Ka-band relay platforms are produced by Thales Alenia Space, and have a liftoff mass of 700 kg. each.
Four satellites to provide broadband Internet access in remote areas will be launched on Monday evening atop Russia’s Soyuz ST-B rocket from the Kourou launch center in French Guiana.
“The launch of the Soyuz ST-B carrier rocket with four O3b Networks satellites is scheduled for 22:53 Moscow time [6:53 p.m. GMT] on June 24 from the Guiana spaceport in South America,” an Arianespace spokesman told RIA Novosti.
He said the O3b Networks satellites are designed and built by Thales Alenia Space to become a part of the first medium Earth orbit satellite constellation providing broadband internet access in remote areas of the world.
Four O3b satellites are to be taken to orbit this year and four - in 2014. To reduce cost and latency, the satellites will be orbiting at an average altitude of about 8,000 km, or about four times closer than regular geostationary satellites.
It will be the fifth Soyuz launch from the Kourou space center.
The first launch of a Russian rocket beyond the ex-Soviet borders was held on October 22, 2011, when Russia’s Soyuz-ST-a carrier rocket blasted off from Kourou carrying two Galileo navigation system satellites. Before that, Soyuz launches were available only from two space centers - Russia’s Plesetsk and Baikonur that Russia leases from Kazakhstan.
The Soyuz-ST is a modification of the three-stage Soyuz-2 rocket with a Fregat upper stage adapted for launch in high heat and humidity prevalent in Kourou. It is fitted with a radar transponder allowing its location to be monitored and controlled in flight.
Arianespace Flight VS05 – O3b: Launch postponed by 24 hours
Kourou, June 24, 2013
The weather conditions being unfavorable over the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, the launch of the Soyuz VS05 – O3b has been postponed by 24 hours.
A new launch attempt is slated on Tuesday 25 June at 03:54:03 pm local time, 18:54:03 UTC.