[SatNews] Arianespace's seventh Soyuz to be launched from French Guiana is now undergoing final checkout for its April 3 liftoff following installation of the mission's satellite passenger—Sentinel-1A—atop this medium-lift vehicle.
Sentinel-1A's mating with Soyuz occurred yesterday, after the workhorse Russian-built vehicle rolled out to the launch pad in the Spaceport's northwestern sector. The satellite was fitted as part of an integrated "upper composite," consisting of Sentinel-1A, the Fregat upper stage that will place it into orbit, and the Soyuz ST fairing. The activity occurred inside the 53-meter-tall mobile gantry that provides a protected environment for the vertical payload installation. This is one of the main differences in launcher processing at the Spaceport compared to the horizontal processing of vehicles on Soyuz launch sites at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia.
The upcoming launch—designated Flight VS07 in Arianespace's numbering system— is scheduled at precisely 6:02:26 p.m. local time in French Guiana, on Thursday, with the mission lasting 23 minutes to Sun-synchronous orbit. Sentinel-1A is to deliver essential data for Copernicus, a program of the European Commission in partnership with the European Space Agency - which will create a sustainable European satellite network to collect and evaluate environmental data for civil safety and humanitarian purposes. The spacecraft was developed in an industrial consortium led by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor, with Airbus Defence and Space responsible for the C-SAR synthetic aperture radar payload.
Follow Arianespace's launch activity at http://www.arianespace.com/.