Arianespace Soyuz Sends Six Satellites into Orbit
[Satellite TODAY 12-20-11] An Arianespace Soyuz STA rocket has successfully orbited the Pleiades 1A, SSOT and four ELISA satellites from the European spaceport in French Guiana, the launch company announced Dec. 17.
The Flight VS02 mission lofted a total of six spacecraft. The Soyuz flew for three hours and 26 minutes before its deployed its payload.
Prime contractor Astrium built Pleiades 1 for the French CNES space agency. The satellite is a compact, hexagonal-shaped spacecraft optimized for operational agility and image location accuracy. The four ELISA micro-satellites are part of a joint demonstrator program involving the French DGA defense procurement organization and CNES. The satellites were developed between a partnership of Astrium and Thales Airborne Systems.
SSOT is a Chilean dual-role military/civilian optical satellite designed for mapping, agricultural monitoring and management of natural resources, disasters and risks. SSOT also was built by Astrium and is based on the same CNES-conceived spacecraft platform as the ELISA satellites.
Arianespace is set for another Soyuz mission on Dec. 28 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The company said that preparations are continuing at the French Guiana spaceport for the inaugural launch of its lightweight Vega rocket, which is scheduled for early 2012.