The Spaceport in French Guiana currently has four parallel mission campaigns underway 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 and Insat-3D 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 (ATV) Albert Einstein payload for a liftoff scheduled on June 5. The ATV to be orbited on this mission – designated Arianespace Flight VA213 – is set to have a liftoff mass of 20,235 kg., 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, VNREDSat-1 and ESTCube-1 spacecraft, Flight VV02 is set for May 3. Its ESTCube-1 passenger weighs 1.3 kg. – making it one of the smallest satellites to be orbited by Arianespace.