by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Dec 06, 2011
The primary payload for Arianespace's second Soyuz flight from French Guiana is now undergoing fueling, while the upper stage that will orbit this Earth observation satellite and five co-passengers has completed its own "topping off" at the Spaceport.
France's Pleiades 1 very high resolution imaging satellite is the largest of six spacecraft to be lofted by Soyuz during the December 16 launch. It will be joined by four French ELISA electronic intelligence (ELINT) demonstrators and the SSOT ("Sistema Satelital para la Observacion de la Tierra") Earth observation platform for Chile.
Pleiades 1 is being fueled in the Spaceport's S5 payload preparation facility. Built by the Astrium business unit of EADS, it will provide military and civilian users with processed 50-cm resolution imagery at ground coverage swath widths of 20 km.
Pleiades 1 is based on a smaller, less expensive and more agile design than the predecessor Spot and Helios satellites - which were launched by Ariane vehicles beginning in 1986.
Separately, the Fregat upper stage for Soyuz has finished its fuelling process in the Spaceport's S3B clean room facility, and is now positioned in the integration stand where it will be fitted with Pleiades 1 and the mission's five co-passengers.
Once assembled, this element of the Soyuz launcher, known as the "upper composite," will be completed by the protective ST-type payload fairing.
The upcoming Soyuz flight from French Guiana follows Arianespace's maiden launch with the Russian-built medium lift vehicle, which was performed at the Spaceport on October 21.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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Europe's third ATV is loaded with cargo for its 2012 launch by Arianespace
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Nov 30, 2011
Cargo loading is underway in French Guiana for the no. 3 Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), which is being readied for a 2012 launch from the Spaceport on Arianespace's next Ariane 5 servicing mission to the International Space Station. This ATV will carry an estimated 6,960 kg. of dry cargo, propellant, water and gas, with transfer operations to the spacecraft's Integrated Cargo Carrier se ... read more
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