Next mission under Galileo program – Soyuz-2.1b is during the last preparations before launch planned for Tuesday, 24th May 2016.

This weekend will be quite busy for specialists from European Space Agency and Arianespace who are working in Guiana Space Center.  VS15 mission which covers launch of the Soyuz-2.1b and deploying 13th and 14th satellites is getting close. It will be second flight of Soyuz from Guiana Space Center and first mission under Galileo program in 2016. Both satellites, each weighing 715 kg, from were already encapsulated under payload fairing attached to Fregat upper stage. Technicians managed to perform this according to plan on Thursday 19 May, 2016. Yesterday rocket integrated with payload was planned to start its short journey from MIK integration facility to launch pad. Launch Readiness Review (LRR) in Kourou is planned for Monday 23rd May 2016 with lift off scheduled for 08:48:43 GMT. Mission will take 3h47’57”; both satellites made by OHB System/SSTL will be delivered to circular medium Earth orbit with altitude of 23522 km and with inclination at 57.394°. FM10 and FM11 satellites are called Daniel and Alizee and originally were not scheduled for 2016 but European Commission decided to increase number of launched Galileo satellites in 2016 for 6 for improving pace of Galileo development.

Arianespace is going to use during 276th mission Soyuz-2.1b (Soyuz-STB rocket) from ELS launch site in French Guiana. It is version of Soyuz-2 modified with RD-0124 engine in second stage, which gives 297.9 kN of thrust. Every from four strap-on boosters is powered by single RD-107 engine with thrust at 838.5 kN. First stage is equipped with one RD-108A engine with thrust at 792.5 kN. Upper stage is Fregat, powered with single S5.92 engine providing thrust at 19.85 kN. Rocket is able to lift up to  3250kg to GTO orbit.