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Arianespace Prepares For Soyuz Launch

By | November 15, 2004

      The recent maiden flight of an improved Soyuz rocket was an important step in bringing Russia’s workhorse vehicle into Arianespace’s family of commercial launch vehicles. The mission is a step toward allowing the Soyuz to fly from the company’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The Nov. 8 mission from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia carried a digital flight control system with a high-speed onboard computer. The new control system provides additional mission flexibility, and it enables Soyuz to be equipped with a larger payload fairing for its future use in commercial Arianespace missions from the Space-port in French Guiana.

      “By the time the vehicle in French Guiana, we will have fully flight tested all the improvements in to the Soyuz ST. Since we retired the Ariane 4, it will be nice to have a system like this to fill the role of doing scientific missions to polar orbits and to launch satellites of less than three tons into geostationary orbit,” said Clay Mowry, president of Arianespace Inc., the U.S. unit of France-based Arianespace S.A.

      (Clay Mowry, Arianespace, 202/628-3936)

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