Arianespace set the dates for its return to action

by Lee Kanayama

Arianespace has announced that the launch campaigns at the Guiana Space Center will resume soon. This comes after a month-long suspension of all launch campaigns that began on March 16th.

Beginning May 11th, the launch campaigns for the VV16/SSMS and the VA253 will resume. The launch campaigns were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 18th.

After the launch campaigns reactivate, the workforce will adhere to strict compliance with health rules published by the Prefect of French Guiana, the CNES, and the Guiana Space Center. The objective is to preserve the health of the workers, the space center, and the local population, but allow the security and safety condition required for the preparation of the planned launches.

The launch campaigns for the Soyuz VS24 and VS25 will also resume this summer.

As of April 21st, the measures to maintain the launch sites in an operational configuration will be applied with social distancing procedures.

VV16 is the return to flight for the Vega rocket after the VV15 failure in July 2019.

VV15 – launching the Falcon Eye 1 mission – was the first failure of the Vega rocket after 14 consecutive launch successes. The VV15 failure was caused by a thermo-structure failure in the forward dome area of the Z23 motor second stage at ignition.

Vega will soon be replaced by the more powerful Vega-C rocket – which will have its next flight of a NET of September 2020. This will be followed by a further upgrade in 2024 with the Vega-E.

VV16 is set to launch in mid-June with the Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) rideshare mission. It will carry 40+ CubeSats for multiple customers. This is the first of many launches for Spaceflight Inc. under the SSMS.

The next mission for Arianespace after VV16 is VA253 with the Ariane 5 rocket. It will carry the Galaxy-30, MEV-2, and the BSat-4B satellites. VA253 is set to launch at the end of July.

Arianespace photo of a recent Ariane 5 launch

The Galaxy-30 is a Geostationary Communication owned and operated by Intelsat. It is built under GEOStar-2 Satellite bus by Northrop Grumman Innovation System (NGIS), it has a mass of 3325 kg, and will launch on the upper berth of the payload fairing. Once launched it will be located at 125 degrees west.

Next is the BSat-4B, another Geostationary Communications owned and operated by Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT). It is built by Space Systems/Loral (SSL), sporting the SSL-1300 satellite bus, with a mass of 3520 kg. It will be launched as the lower passenger inside the Ariane 5 fairing.

MEV-2 will launch with the Galaxy-30 in the upper passenger position. MEV-2, built by NGIS, is based on the GEOStar-3, it is the identical sister to the MEV-1 spacecraft.

MEV (Mission Extension Vehicle) is the first commercial servicing vehicle that can extend the life of a Geostationary satellite that is about to be retired.

The MEV-1 launched on a Proton-M in October 2019 into graveyard orbit and rendezvoused with the Intelsat-901 satellite.

On February 25th, the two spacecraft docked and then returned the Intelsat-901 back to its operational orbit. On April 23rd, it had successfully returned to service. After five years it will undock and move on to another payload.

MEV-2 will also launch into a geostationary orbit and target Intelsat 10-02. It will extend the mission of the satellite for at least five years.

After the VA253 launch, VA254 will launch with a NET date of August of 2020. The next Soyuz launch is VS24 with the Falcon Eye 2 mission.

Related Articles