The Spaceport is operating to the rhythm of Arianespace’s launcher family, with four parallel...
...mission campaigns now underway in French Guiana for the heavy-lift Ariane 5
, medium-lift Soyuz
and lightweight Vega
vehicles. Joining the activity this week are preparations for an Ariane 5 flight planned in the second half of July with the Alphasat
satellites. The mission is designated VA214
in Arianespace’s numbering system, and the assembly process for its vehicle began inside the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building with the placement of Ariane 5’s cryogenic core stage over one of two mobile launch tables available for the heavy-lift workhorse. In parallel, another Ariane 5 is in the Spaceport’s launcher Final Assembly Building, where it is awaiting the Automated Transfer Vehicle
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payload for a liftoff scheduled on June 5th. The ATV to be orbited on this mission—designated Arianespace Flight VA213
—is set to have a liftoff mass of 20,235kg., becoming the heaviest spacecraft ever lofted by an Ariane 5. Also part of the launcher family activity currently underway are preparations for the fifth medium-lift Soyuz mission from French Guiana. Scheduled for June, Flight VS05
will carry four satellites for O3b Networks
, which will initiate the creation of a spacecraft constellation to provide fast, flexible and affordable connectivity for emerging market customers. The four O3b satellites were delivered to French Guiana this week, while launcher preparations for Flight VS05 include the checkout of Soyuz’ Fregat upper stage in the Spaceport’s launch zone dedicated to operations of this Russian-developed vehicle. Completing the parallel launch activity are preparations for the second lightweight Vega mission from the Spaceport’s SLV launch site. To orbit a three-satellite payload of the Proba-V
spacecraft, Flight VV02
is set for May 3rd. Its ESTCube-1 passenger weighs 1.3kg.—making it one of the smallest satellites to be orbited by Arianespace.
Ariane 5’s core cryogenic stage for Flight VA214 is readied to begin
the launcher’s build-up process at the Spaceport (photos at left),
while one of the heavy-lift vehicle’s two solid propellant boosters
is rolled out for mating to the cryogenic stage (photo at right).
Photos courtesy of Arianespace.