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LAUNCH PAD
Arianespace ready for next Soyuz and Ariane missions
by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Nov 30, 2012


File image.

A payload fairing not only performs the important role of protecting a launcher's passengers during ascent, it also provides an opportunity to put a spotlight on the spacecraft lofted during the mission. For Arianespace launches, placing logos related to the flights' passengers - and in certain cases, their associated organizations and countries - has become a tradition that is continued on the upcoming Soyuz and Ariane 5 missions currently being readied for liftoff from the Spaceport.

A large decal placed on the fairing for this Friday's Soyuz Flight VS04 incorporates a graphic representation of the mission's Pleiades 1B very-high-resolution optical imaging satellite.

Accompanying it are the logos of the French government, which initiated the program; and the country's CNES national space agency - the Pleiades system prime contractor.

Completing the Flight VS04 decal graphics is a line-up of flags for the program's five European participants: France, Austria, Belgium, Spain and Sweden.

On Arianespace's November 30 flight with the medium-lift Soyuz, the vehicle's 4.1-meter-diameter payload fairing will be jettisoned at 3 minutes, 29 seconds after liftoff.

This fairing encapsulates Pleiades 1B along with its Fregat upper stage - which will perform two burns to place the satellite into a 695-km. circular orbit during a mission lasting 55 minutes.

The larger 5-meter-diameter payload fairing for Arianespace's Flight VA211 mission with Ariane 5 on December 19 - which is to carry the Skynet 5D and Mexsat Bicentenario satellites - also has decals for its two spacecraft passengers.

Included in the horizontal decal for Mexsat Bicentenario is the logo for this Ku-/C-band telecommunications relay satellite, along with a symbol for Mexico's "Vivir Mejor" ("Live Better") campaign.

They are joined by a reference to the country's Ministry of Communications and Transportation (Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes), and the Mexican government seal.

The Ariane 5 payload fairing is jettisoned at approximately 3 minutes into the heavy-lift launcher's missions.

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LAUNCH PAD
Ariane 5 joins Soyuz in mission preparations at the Spaceport
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Nov 29, 2012
The Spaceport is once again handling parallel campaigns with two different members of the Arianespace launcher family, as a heavy-lift Ariane 5 has moved to the Final Assembly Building to be readied for its December 19 flight, while a medium-lift Soyuz is now complete at a separate complex in French Guiana for a nighttime launch this Friday. Arianespace's mission with Ariane 5 is to orbit ... read more


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