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  Soyuz at the Guiana Space Center (CSG)

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Author Topic:   Soyuz at the Guiana Space Center (CSG)
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-26-2007 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Arianespace release
Official opening of the Soyuz launch base construction site in French Guiana

The construction site of the Soyuz launch base in French Guiana was officially opened today by Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General, Yannick d'Escatha, President of CNES, Jean-Yves Le Gall, Director General of Arianespace, and Anatoly Perminov, Head of Roscosmos. The ceremony took place in the presence of many French authorities and representatives of all the European and Russian entities contributing to the startup of the project.

On this occasion, a commemorative plaque was unveiled and a stone from the Baikonur launch pad from which the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took off in 1961 was deposited on the site. This stone is a powerful symbol of the continuity between the Russian launch site, which saw the start of the space age with Sputnik followed by the first human space flight, and the setting-up of a Soyuz launch operation in French Guiana. The arrival of Soyuz marks the culmination of 40 years of space cooperation between France and Russia, a decade of industrial cooperation in the Starsem framework, and the longstanding cooperation between ESA and Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).

Soyuz, renowned for its legendary exploits in space exploration, has been launched 1718 times so far, thus demonstrating both its robustness and reliability. It has to date placed 1661 satellites in orbit around the Earth and sent 91 Russian and 40 non-Russian cosmonauts into space.

Launching Soyuz from the Guiana Space Centre (CSG) will make it possible to use French Guiana's equatorial position to significantly increase the launcher's lift capability. After an inaugural flight at the end of 2008, Soyuz will launch communication satellites into geostationary orbit, navigation satellites forming part of the European Galileo constellation, Earth observation satellites into polar orbit, and interplanetary probes. Soyuz at the CSG, alongside the Ariane-5 heavy-lift launcher and Europe's small Vega launcher, will harmoniously complete the range of ESA launchers. Their exploitation is handled by Arianespace, which will be able to offer launch services for all types of mission.

This project is being co-funded by ESA, the European Union and Arianespace and carried out with CNES as system prime contractor, in the framework of an ESA programme. Although the site is being officially opened today, excavation work was begun several months ago by the French firm VINCI with the help of numerous European and local firms; the first Russian teams are due to arrive at Sinnamary between now and the end of the year to build the launch and functional support infrastructure for the launch pad.

As Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of the European Space Agency, said: "We are entering a new era for launchers for Europe, which is the positive outcome of good cooperation between ESA and Russia, initiated by France, and which will enhance the launch flexibility offered by Arianespace."

Yannik d'Escatha, President of CNES, observed that: "The continuous relationship developed in the space domain between France and Russia over the last 40 years and its extension to cooperation on launchers as from 1996 has led today to this tremendous joint project between Europe and Russia: Soyuz at the CSG. With the construction work on this launch site at the Guiana Space Centre, Europe's Spaceport, the link that has been developed will now be very much a tangible one on French territory, for ESA, for decades to come."

As Anatoly Perminov, Head of Roscosmos, put it: "We can clearly see today that the most ambitious projects, such as this construction of the Soyuz launch pad at the CSG, cannot be carried out by a single entity. It is only through the joint efforts of Europe, Russia and France that such a bold ambition is becoming a tangible reality before our very eyes. This mutually beneficial cooperation provides a guarantee that the future exploration of space can only be for peaceful purposes and that it will always be in line with the aspirations of humanity at large."

Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, said that: "Soyuz at the CSG is a new phase in the amazing undertaking begun 10 years ago by Europe and Russia within Starsem. Soyuz at the CSG will be a great asset for Arianespace's commercial strategy and will greatly benefit our customers, our shareholders and our partners."

Henk Boshuijer
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Posts: 379
From: Netherlands
Registered: May 2007

posted 05-05-2009 08:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henk Boshuijer   Click Here to Email Henk Boshuijer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Probably this year we can see a Soyuz rocket liftoff from its new launchpad in Kourou, French Guiana. Soyuz's launch site is configured after the Russian Baikonur and Plesetsk Cosmodromes but with a new mobile launch service tower.

You can find some more nice pictures of the new launch pad here.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-09-2009 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Arianespace release
Arianespace's first two Soyuz launchers on their way to French Guiana

The first two Soyuz launchers have left Russia for the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana (northern part of South America). The legendary Russian launcher will lift off from its new launch pad, now being completed, for the first time in 2010.

The two Soyuz launchers left St. Petersburg November 7 aboard the MN Colibri, which is one of two ships used by Arianespace to transport Ariane launch vehicles from their European manufacturing sites to French Guiana. The ship will arrive in a port near Kourou, French Guiana, in about two weeks.

The two Soyuz rockets will be launched in 2010 from a new purpose-built Soyuz launch complex at the Guiana Space Center. Soyuz will become the medium-lift launcher in the Arianespace family, operated from the most modern launch site in the world alongside the Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher, which just logged its 34th successful mission in a row.

"The shipment of our first two Soyuz launchers to French Guiana is a major milestone, taking us a step closer to its introduction in Arianespace's commercial service from Europe's Spaceport," said Arianespace Chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall. "With Soyuz, shortly to be joined by Vega, Arianespace will have a complete range of launch vehicles, enabling us to launch any payload, to any orbit, at any time."

Due to the virtually equatorial location of the Guiana Space Center, Soyuz is capable of lofting communications satellites weighing up to 3 metric tons into geostationary orbit - versus 1.8 metric tons from its current launch site in Baikonur. Soyuz is also perfectly suited for the launch of scientific or Earth observation spacecraft, as well as constellations of satellites.

Arianespace has ordered 14 Soyuz launchers from Russian industry to date, and nearly all of these launches are already booked.

About Soyuz at the Guiana Space Center

The European Space Agency (ESA) set up the program "Soyuz at the Guiana Space Center (CSG)" to bolster collaboration with Russia on launch vehicles. The program is organized as follows:

  • ESA is the contracting authority (and program management) and provides the Soyuz launch facilities for use by Arianespace.

  • The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) bears overall responsibility for the program in Russia, and coordinates the activities of Russian companies involved in the program.

  • French space agency CNES is program prime contractor and system architect for all facilities at the Guiana Space Center.

  • Arianespace is responsible for the supply of Russian systems to CSG, and coordinates and supports Russian activities during the development phase. Arianespace will also be the Soyuz launch operator at the Guiana Space Center.

Credit: Arianespace

onesmallstep
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Posts: 508
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 03-04-2011 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A fascinating article (with pictures) in the online edition of Der Spiegel International (in english) titled 'Soyuz Rockets in the Jungle'.

The project is years behind schedule, due to construction of the launch pad. If all goes well, the Galileo series of satellites will be the first payload, this summer. In the 'slide show', check out photo no. 11 - they call the service gantry with the ESA emblem a 'rocket garage'(!)

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-03-2011 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
European Space Agency release
Soyuz launch site ready for first flight

The Soyuz site at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana is now ready for its first launch. ESA yesterday handed over the complex to Arianespace, marking a major step towards this year's inaugural flight.

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Construction of the Soyuz site began in February 2007, although initial excavation and ground infrastructure work began in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

Russian staff arrived in French Guiana in mid-2008 to assemble the launch table, mobile gantry, fuelling systems and test benches.

The first two Soyuz launchers arrived from Russia by sea in November 2009 to be assembled in the new preparation and integration building.

The French space agency, CNES, as prime contractor for the building work, along with its European and Russian partners, has spent recent months qualifying the site - known as Ensemble de Lancement Soyuz, or ELS for short.

The tests covered all the mechanical, fluid and electrical elements, such as the pad's umbilical arms and fuelling vehicles, and all the buildings, including the launch control centre that will house the combined European and Russian teams.

The 'acceptance review' this week declared that the site is ready for its first rocket. At the same time CNES handed over the facilities to ESA.

The last step this week was ESA's hand-over to Arianespace.

Main features of the Soyuz site

The launch site is almost identical to the other Soyuz sites in Kazakhstan and Russia, although adapted to conform to European safety regulations.

The most visible difference is the 45 m-tall mobile gantry, which provides a protected environment as payloads are installed on the vertical launcher. Its internal movable work platforms provide access to the Soyuz at various levels.

What's next?

From now on Arianespace is responsible for the Soyuz launch site and will begin the campaign this month to qualify its launch operations.

A launch rehearsal will ensure that the Soyuz and the new facilities work together perfectly, while allowing the teams to train under realistic launch conditions.

This simulated launch campaign will include the vehicle's transfer to the launch zone, its erection into the vertical position, its installation on the pad, and the testing of ground and launcher interfaces.

These final tests will give the green light for the first Soyuz flight from French Guiana in the third quarter of 2011.

cspg
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Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 05-05-2011 01:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
European Space Agency release
First Soyuz almost ready for launch from French Guiana

The final countdown before its maiden flight later this year has begun for Soyuz with a simulated launch campaign at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

This dry run ensures that the Soyuz and the new facilities work together perfectly, while allowing the teams to train under realistic launch conditions. It also validates all the procedures during the final phase before launch, except the fuelling of the vehicle.

Last Friday, one of the two Soyuz launchers already at the Spaceport was rolled out of the preparation building horizontally using the 600 m-long railway leading to the launch platform.

The vehicle was then erected into the vertical position and suspended over the pad with the use of four support arms.

The mobile gantry, built specifically for Soyuz operations in French Guiana, was rolled out to the pad and the vehicle’s upper composite, comprising the Fregat upper stage and payload fairing, was hoisted on top of the launcher.

The rehearsal is simulating the five-day final phase before launch, planned on 4 May. The final countdown will be performed, including the gantry’s rollback to its parked position, 80 m from the pad. It will be intentionally stopped to validate the procedures in the event of a launch interruption.

The countdown will resume on 5 May with a simulated liftoff and flight downrange.

These tests will give the green light for the first Soyuz flight from French Guiana in the third quarter of 2011.

cspg
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Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 05-10-2011 08:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Soyuz rollout video:

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-19-2011 02:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Arianespace video release
Timelapse: Soyuz at Guiana Space Center


Credit: threelaunchersontheequator.com

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