Soyuz-ST at Guiana Space Center
Soyuz-ST at Guiana Space Center
Intergovernmental agreement about long-term cooperation in the field of launcher development, production and implementation as well as building of launching pad for Soyuz-ST at Guiana Space Center (French Guiana) was signed between presidents of Russian federation and France in November 7, 2003
GSC (Guiana Space Center), known as Kourou European spaceport, located at Northeastern coast of South America, will provide optimal conditions to perform commercial launches.
• Launch of satellites to sun-synchronous orbits;
• Simultaneous launch of a single satellite or satellites cluster to low-earth orbit;
• Launch of satellites to medium-earth orbit;
• Launch of research satellites to various orbits;
• Launch of small satellites with piggy-back Payload.
The decision to build launching pad at French Guiana is based on energy conservation of spacecrafts while placing them into polar and equatorial orbits, as well as on availability of seaport and airfield (ease of transportation of launcher blocks and spacecraft), closeness of equator and flight stability.
Equatorial location of the spaceport enables increased lifting capacity of the launcher with reduced fuel consumption. Due to the difference in inclination of transfer orbits, the launcher is able to place into GTO satellites with mass significantly greater than of those launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome.
Main project participants
The Russian Party is represented by:
Roskosmos - is a prime contractor of the project from the Russian party responsible for project management, organization and coordination of all Russian enterprises activities;
JSC SRC-Progress - is a parent organization on development, production and operation of Soyuz-ST to be launched from GSC;
NPO-L - is a prime developer of Fregat, responsible for Fregat maintenance implemented into Soyuz-ST;
TsENKI - is a prime developer of Russian equipment dedicated to launching pad.
The European Party is represented by:
French National Space Agency (CNES) – performs management of works at GSC
European Space Agency (ESA) – finances project;
«Arianespace» - us one of the major world provider of space launches;
«Starsem» - Russian-French joint stock company which represents TsSKB-Progress interests on the world market of launching services.
A new spaceport will be used for launches of middle-class Soyuz-ST.
Soyuz-ST is a modification of Soyuz-2 which meet safety, TM and operating conditions requirements of European partners.
Soyuz-ST is equipped with a large-size fairing (4,11m in diameter), more powerful engines and new digital control system to control flight trajectory more precisely. It is supposed to use two types of Soyuz-ST: 1a and 1b.
Energy capability of Soyuz-ST
GTO (∆V=1500 m/s)
Sun-synchronous orbit (Нкр=820 km)
Hardware implemented onboard the launcher enables engines cut-off from the ground station, i.e. in case of necessity it is possible to abort the launcher flight manually. In addition, the launcher is equipped with radar responders to control the launcher orientation during the flight. To adapt the launcher to French Guiana climatic conditions same activities have been performed.
Main objects to perform launches of Soyuz from GSC are the following:
• Technical facility of the launcher and upper stage (has been constructed recently);
• Control center (has been constructed recently);
• Launching pad (has been constructed recently);
• Mobile service tower (has been constructed recently);
• Technical facility of Upper composite (existing facility has been used);
• Measuring facility (existing facility has been used);
• Objects of supplying infrastructure (existing infrastructure has been used with minor modification as well as development of new objects).
Preparation order of Soyuz-ST
Operative preparation procedure of Soyuz-ST differs from conventional one performed at Russian cosmodromes and composed of the following steps:
· Transportation of launcher blocks and fuel from manufacturing plants to the seaport of Saint-Petersburg by rail;
· Transportation of launcher blocks and fuelto French Guiana by sea;
· Transportation of launcher blocks to the storage area of Soyuz launching pad by road transport;
· Integration of the launcher three stages, launcher transportation in horizontal position and placing at the launching pad;
· Integration of upper composite in vertical position and transportation to the launching pad;
· Mating of upper composite with the launcher in vertical position at the launching pad;
Soyuz-ST integration is performed at Assembly and testing facility (MIK), but integration of upper composite is performed at Ariane’s launching pad. Special feature of integration at GSC is mating of the launcher with upper composite in vertical position.
According to the project no less than 50 launches of Soyuz-ST have to be performed from GSC for the following 15 years. It is planned to perform from 2 to 4 launches each year.
After the launch, Soyuz will be the first carrier which is possible to launch from 3 countries: Russia (Plesetsk cosmodrome), Kazakhstan (Baikonur cosmodrome) and French Guiana (Kourou spaceport).
History of the project
• July, 1998– Starsem with Russian party made a decision to organize a working group on launching pad building for Soyuz-ST at GSC.
• May, 2002 – Agreement on launching system development of Soyuz type at GSA was signed between Arianespace, Roscosmos and Starsem.
• November, 2002 – political decision on building of a spaceport for Soyuz-ST with Fregat at GSC was made by ESA Council of Ministers;
• May, 2003– Resolution on “European carriers prospects till the year of 2010” containing a decision of implementation of “Soyuz at GSC” project as well as its funding was approved by ESA Council of Ministers.
• November 7, 2003 – intergovernmental agreement on long-term cooperation in the field of development, production and operation of Soyuz-ST at GSC was signed;
• February 4, 2004 – “Agreement on funds unfreezing which guarantees Europe an independent access to space since 2005 till 2009” was signed by ESA Council. Declaration of Soyuz carrier in the frameworks of “Soyuz at GSC” project was approved on the bases of above mentioned agreement.
• April, 2005 – Contract concerning Launching System development of Soyuz type at GSC was signed between Arianespace, Roscosmos, TsSKB-Progress, KBOM, NPO-L and TsENKI.
• June, 2007 – Contract concerning Soyuz-ST production, delivery and launching services was signed between Arianespace, Roscosmos, TsSKB-Progress, KBOM, NPO-L and TsENKI.
• July, 2008 – the first part of ground support equipment of Soyuz launching facility was supplied to French Guiana. The beginning of equipment installation.
• January, 2009 – the second part of ground support equipment of Soyuz launching facility was supplied to French Guiana.
• September, 2009 – the first two Soyuz-ST carriers were shipped to French Guiana;
• April 29, 2011 – dry-run of Soyuz-ST from Assembly and Testing facility to the launching Pad was performed and all necessary works were carried out.
• May, 2011 – the second two Soyuz-ST carriers were shipped to Soyuz-ST Launching facility at French Guiana.
• October 21, 2011 – the first launch of the Soyuz-ST-B launch vehicle with the Fregat Upper Stage. Two Galileo-IOV communication satellites were put into orbit.
• December 17, 2011 – the first launch of the Soyuz-ST-A launch vehicle with the Fregat Upper Stage. The Pleiades/Elisa/SSOT satellites were put into orbit.
• October 12, 2012 – launch of Soyuz-ST-B carrier with Fregat and two Galileo IOV-2 satellites.
• December 2, 2012 – Soyuz-ST launcher with Fregat and Pleiades-1B French satellite.
• June 25-30, 2013 23:27 (msc) Soyuz-ST designed and manufactured by SRP SRC “TsSKB-Progress” successfully launched four O3b satellites designed by O3b Networks company from Soyuz Launch Facilityof Kourou space port (French Guiana).
• December 19, 2013 13:12 (msc) Soyuz-ST successfully launched Gaya European space telescope from Guiana Space Center.
• April 4, 2014 01:02 (msc) Soyuz-ST designed and manufactured by JSCSRC “Progress” successfully launched Sentinel-1A satellite from Guiana Space Center.
• July 10, 2013 22:55 (msc) Soyuz-ST designed and manufactured by SRC Progress launched O3b №2 satellite designed by O3b Network from Guiana Space Center.
• March 28, 2015 Soyuz-ST LV developed and produced at SRC Progress, with two European navigation satellites Galileo FOC was launched successfully from Guiana spaceport.
• September 11, 2015 Soyuz-ST LV with two European navigation satellites Galileo was launched successfully from Guiana Space Centre.
• December 17, 2015 Soyuz-ST LV with two European navigation satellites Galileo was launched successfully from Guiana Space Centre.