by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Jul 26, 2013
Two more Soyuz launchers have now arrived in French Guiana, joining a previously-delivered vehicle that is being readied for Arianespace's next Spaceport mission with the medium-lift workhorse.
The latest pair was brought by the MN Colibri - which is one of two roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) ships used to transport the Soyuz, Ariane 5 and Vega members of Arianespace's launcher family from Europe to the company's South America operating base.
After docking at Pariacabo Port adjacent to the city of Kourou on Friday, July 19, the unloading began process for these two Russian-built vehicles, initiating a multi-day transfer process by road to the nearby Spaceport - which will be completed this week.
The MN Colibri's large enclosed RO/RO main deck, along with the external storage area on its upper deck, enable two complete Soyuz vehicles to be carried on transatlantic voyages from St. Petersburg, Russia to Kourou, according to Patrick Legris, who is part of Arianespace's logistics team at the Spaceport.
This latest delivery included all components for the two newly-delivered launchers: their first, second and third stages; the Fregat upper stage; payload fairing; and elements of the vehicles' propellant load.
The voyage was under the command of Capt. Anthony Charon, who works for the Compagnie Maritime Nantaise - MN, which operates the MN Colibri and its MN Toucan sister ship for Arianespace.
Charon said the 5,217-naut. mi. trip from St. Petersburg to Kourou took 14.5 days at the ship's operating speed of 15 kts., with the journey performed in excellent summer weather conditions.
The MN Colibri is the primary vessel used by Compagnie Maritime Nantaise - MN for launcher transportation duties on behalf of Arianespace, with the MN Toucan sister ship also available. MN Colibri is the latest-built of the two, and incorporates certain updates based on the MN Toucan's operating experience for Arianespace, including the capability of stacking containers up to three high on the exterior upper deck.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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