. Space Travel News .

Arianespace Completes 2011 Launch Manifest With Successful Soyuz Campaign
by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Dec 16, 2011

The second Soyuz to launch from the Arianespace spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana takes to the sky. The successful launch was the 1,781st for the Soyuz series of rockets.

Arianespace confirmed Soyuz' mission flexibility in operations from the Spaceport with tonight's successful launch that placed six satellite passengers into Sun-synchronous orbit.

Departing precisely at the planned liftoff time of 11:03:08 p.m. in French Guiana, the Soyuz performed a 3-hour, 26-minute flight to deploy its payload of the French Pleiades 1 and Chilean SSOT satellites for civilian and defense image gathering, along with four French ELISA micro-satellite demonstrators for defense-related electronic intelligence gathering (ELINT).

This was Arianespace's second mission with the Russian-built medium-lift workhorse launcher performed at the Spaceport, and it occurred less than two months after Soyuz' historic maiden flight from French Guiana on October 21.

Designated Flight VS02 in Arianespace launcher family numbering system, tonight's mission involved four burns of Soyuz' Fregat upper stage, which enabled the six satellites to be released for operations at altitudes ranging from 610 km. to 700 km.

Using a new purpose-built payload dispenser developed for Arianespace's Soyuz missions, the deployment sequence began with the release of Pleiades 1.

It was followed by the simultaneous separation of all four ELISA satellites, and the mission was completed with the deployment of SSOT, which occurred 3 hours, 26 minutes after liftoff. The Soyuz lift performance was an estimated 2,190 kg., which includes approximately 1,400 kg. for the Pleiades 1, ELISA and SSOT satellites, along with the weight of its payload dispenser and integration hardware.

This was the 1,781st flight of the Soyuz launcher family, which ushered in the space age and continues to demonstrate its reliability and robustness in both unmanned and manned missions. Pleiades 1 weighed 970 kg. at launch and will provide military and civilian users with very high resolution optical satellite imagery from a 700-km. orbit, offering 50-cm. resolution imaging products at a coverage swath width of 20 km.

Built by prime contractor Astrium for the French CNES space agency, Pleiades 1 is a compact, hexagonal-shaped spacecraft optimized for operational agility and image location accuracy.

The Soyuz mission's four ELISA micro-satellites are part of a joint demonstrator program involving the French DGA defense procurement organization and the country's CNES space agency, with these spacecraft developed in a partnership of Astrium and Thales Airborne Systems.

Weighing 120 kg. each, they have an operational design life of more than three years. Chile's SSOT (Sistema satelital de Observacion de la Tierra) is a dual-role military/civilian optical satellite that weighed 117 kg. at launch, and is designed for such missions as mapping, agricultural monitoring, and the management of natural resources, disasters and risks.

Built by Astrium for the Chilean armed forces, SSOT is based on the same CNES-conceived spacecraft platform as the ELISA satellites.

Following tonight's success, Arianespace will continue its sustained launch cadence - as another Soyuz mission is set for December 28 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, while preparations continue at the Spaceport in French Guiana for the new lightweight Vega's inaugural liftoff, as well as for the next heavy-lift Ariane 5 flight.

The upcoming Baikonur Cosmodrome launch, referred to as Flight ST24, will be performed on Arianespace's behalf by its Starsem affiliate, and marks the third such Soyuz mission to carry a cluster of six Globalstar second-generation satellites.

Looking ahead to Arianespace's 2012 mission activity, the initial Vega to be launched from French Guiana is taking shape at the Spaceport, with its solid propellant first, second and third stages now stacked on the launch pad.

In the next several days, Vega's AVUM liquid-propellant upper stage will be moved to the pad and installed atop the launcher.

Integration of the "upper composite," consisting of the launcher's payload and protective fairing, is planned for January, followed by final verifications of the fully integrated launcher and the countdown rehearsal.

This introductory Vega mission - designated VV01 - is anticipated in the January-February timeframe, and will carry Italy's LARES laser relativity satellite, along with the ALMASat-1 spacecraft from European universities and several small cubesat platforms.

Separately, the no. 3 Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) for servicing of the International Space Station is scheduled for a March 9 liftoff from French Guiana on an Ariane 5.

This flight's launcher has now been declared ready for the Spaceport handover to Arianespace by industrial prime contractor Astrium.

It will be the 205th mission with an Ariane family vehicle, and is designated VA205 in Arianespace's numbering sequence. The ATV's two major components - its Integrated Cargo Carrier and the Service Module - were mated this week in the S5 payload preparation building at the Spaceport, marking a major milestone in preparations for the resupply spacecraft's liftoff.

With Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega operating side-by-side from the Spaceport, Arianespace will have a complete launcher family that supports the company's goal of being able to launch "any payload, to any orbit...anytime."

Arianespace Chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said the company's performance in 2011 once again validated its market leadership, with the "numbers speaking for themselves."

Operationally, Ariane 5 lofted eight large geostationary telecommunications satellites from French Guiana during the year - representing one-half of all such payloads orbited worldwide in 2011 - along with the no. 2 Automated Transfer Vehicle.

Added to this are the two Galileo navigation spacecraft carried by Soyuz' no. 1 flight in October and the six payloads on tonight's Soyuz mission from the Spaceport, which will be completed by the six Globalstar platforms scheduled for later this month from Baikonur Cosmodrome.

From the business point of view, Arianespace demonstrated its competitiveness in 2011 by signing new launch contracts for 10 geostationary satellites and the BepiColombo deep space probe to Mercury - providing spacecraft to fill the equivalent of six Ariane 5 flights, along with payloads for one Soyuz mission from French Guiana and for the Vega's first two commercial launches at the Spaceport.

Related Links
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Arianespace Signs First launch contracts for Vega
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Dec 16, 2011
With preparations under way for the first launch of Europe's new light launcher Vega from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, Arianespace has signed its first commercial launch Service and Solutions contracts for Vega with the European Space Agency (ESA), on behalf of the European Union. Arianespace will use Vega to launch two satellites in the Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 families, ded ... read more

Arianespace Signs First launch contracts for Vega

Acra Control Proven in Low Earth Orbit

Arianespace Completes 2011 Launch Manifest With Successful Soyuz Campaign

Vega moves closer to its first liftoff

Meteorite Shock Waves Trigger Dust Avalanches on Mars

Opportunity at One of its Two Winter Spots

Scientists find microbes in lava tube living in conditions like those on Mars

MARSIS Completes Measurement Campaign Over Martian North Pole

Peres promotes Israeli moon probe

Hundreds of NASA's moon rocks missing: audit

Schafer Corp Signs Licensing Agreement with MoonDust Technologies

Russia wants to focus on Moon if Mars mission fails

New Horizons Becomes Closest Spacecraft to Approach Pluto

Pluto's Hidden Ocean

Is the Pluto System Dangerous?

Starlight study shows Pluto's chilly twin

Giant Super-Earths Made Of Diamond Are Possible

New Planet Kepler-21b discovery a partnership of both space and ground-based observations

Astronomers Find Goldilocks Planet and Others

The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog, a new online database of habitable worlds

NASA Takes Next Step In Developing Commercial Crew Program

Industry Leaders Discuss New Booster Development for Space Launch System

NASA Concludes 2011 Testing of J-2X Engine

Russia space agency 'bans foreign travel'

Tiangong-1 orbiter starts planned cabin checks against toxic gas

China celebrates success of space docking mission

Two and a Half Men for Shenzhou

China honors its 'father' of space efforts

Using many instruments to track a comet

Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun and Survives

NASA Developing Comet Harpoon for Sample Return

NASA at work on 'spearfishing' for comets


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement