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Watch the first Soyuz launch from Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana

A new countdown for Soyuz’ first flight from the Spaceport

October 20, 2011 10:30:26 a.m. UT  – Soyuz Flight VS01

The countdown to Soyuz’ maiden flight from French Guiana will resume for a liftoff tomorrow morning after work on the launch pad resolved a ground support system anomaly that postponed the historic mission for 24 hours.

This anomaly was identified as a leak in a launch pad pneumatic system responsible for the programmed disconnection of Soyuz’ third stage fueling lines before the vehicle lifts off.

With the issue resolved, the liftoff is now set for October 21 at 7:30:26 a.m. local time in French Guiana – a precise moment that enables the payload of two Galileo satellites to be injected into their proper orbital plane.

Soyuz’ 3-hr. 49-min. flight from the Spaceport will inject the In-Orbit Validation (IOV) spacecraft for Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system into a 23,222-km. circular medium-Earth orbit, inclined 54.7 degrees.

Weighing approximately 700 kg. each, these satellites – along with two others to be lofted by Soyuz in 2012 – will form the operational nucleus of Europe’s full 30-satellite Galileo navigation constellation, which is being developed in a collaborative program involving the European Space Agency and European Union

With the Soyuz launcher operating out of the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana, Arianespace is the only launch services provider in the world capable of launching all types of payloads to all orbits.

The “Soyuz in French Guiana” project covers three main aspects:
– Construction of launch facilities, including a launch pad identical to those used in Kazakhstan and Russia.
– Launcher modifications needed for operation from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), primarily ensuring compliance with the range safety rules at CSG and adaptation to the requirements of the launcher tracking network.
– Verification of compatibility of the Soyuz launcher with the environmental conditions in French Guiana (in particular the weather and wind conditions).

The Soyuz at CSG launch system, combining the new launch pad with a launcher that has been slightly modified in relation to the version launched from Baikonur, will be validated during the inaugural flight :
– The final countdown and actual flight through the end of the mission will enable validating the operation of all ground and launcher systems and equipment.
– This flight will also enable identifying any improvements that may be needed for the commercial operation of this new launch system.

Soyuz at Guiana Space center – Timelapse from Arianespace on Vimeo.


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