Arianespace Detects Ground-Based Soyuz Fuel Leak; Postpones Galileo Launch
[Satellite TODAY 10-21-11] Arianespace has postponed its Soyuz flight VS01 carrying the Soyuz ST-B and Galileo IOV-1 spacecraft after an anomaly was detected during fueling of the Soyuz launcher’s third stage, the company announced Oct. 20.
In a press conference, Arianespace Chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said a fuel leak was detected in a launch pad pneumatic system that activates a pre-planned disconnection of fuel lines to the rocket’s third stage before it takes off from the launch pad.
“The identified anomaly is in the ground-based pneumatic system, not on the launch vehicle. During the final phase of third stage fueling, there apparently was a change in pressure in this pneumatic system, and we observed the unplanned disconnection of the two connectors that enable the fueling of Soyuz’ third stage with liquid oxygen and kerosene,” Le Gall said, adding that a decision will soon be made on whether to reschedule the launch for Oct 21.
The first two operational satellites of the Galileo program being launched aim to offer global positioning accuracy to within a meter. The European Space Agency (ESA) confirmed that another 14 satellites would be launched as soon as they are ready for delivery once the orbit validation phase of the two newer satellites is completed.