Russian Rocket Puts U.K. Satellites in Interim Orbit

Posted: December 18, 2014 in Sanctions on Russia Meaningless, Technology and Energy

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A Russian Soyuz-ST-B rocket that on Thursday took off from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana has injected four O3b communications satellites belonging to British operator O3b Networks into an interim orbit, said a spokesman for the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).

“The Fregat upper stage and the four communications satellites have just detached from the third stage of the Soyuz-ST-B carrier rocket. The subsequent injection of the satellites into the final orbit will achieved via several activations of the service propulsion system of the Fregat,” the spokesman told Interfax-AVN.

He said it would be about two and a half hours from takeoff to injection in the final orbit, which would have an altitude of about 7,830 kilometers.



Soyuz booster rolls out to French Guiana launch pad

Russian rocket technicians working in the French Guiana jungle transported a three-stage Soyuz booster to its launch pad Monday and erected it upright for liftoff Thursday with four communications satellites for O3b Networks, a company with aims to beam broadband Internet service to the developing world.

The rocket rolled to the launch pad from a horizontal integration building riding on rail tracks while mounted on a specially-built transporter-erector system. Once the rocket completed the nearly half-mile rollout, the transporter-erector lifted the rocket vertical, then workers mounted the Soyuz to hold-down clamps suspended over the launch pad’s flame trench.

Later Monday, officials planned to transfer the mission’s four satellite passengers and a Fregat-M upper stage from a clean room across the Guiana Space Center to the Soyuz launch facility. The O3b satellites, already encapsulated inside their payload shroud, will be hoisted into the launch pad’s 174-foot-tall mobile gantry and positioned on top of the Soyuz ST-B rocket.

Liftoff of the Soyuz booster on its 10th flight from the European-run French Guiana space base is set for 1837 GMT (1:37 p.m. EST) Thursday.

Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace - Photo Optique Video du CSG - P. Baudon

Photo credit: Roscosmos

Photo credit: Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace - Photo Optique Video du CSG

Photo credit: Roscosmos

Photo credit: Roscosmos

Photo credit: Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace - Photo Optique Video du CSG - P. Baudon



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