The payload build-up has been completed in French Guiana for Arianespace’s medium-lift Soyuz mission on March 27, which is to orbit the seventh and eighth Galileo satellites.
These latest preparations, which occurred on 23-March in the Spaceport’s S3B clean room facility, involved installation of the two Galileo spacecraft with their dispenser system atop Soyuz’ Fregat upper stage, followed by encapsulation in the two-piece protective payload fairing.
The completed unit, called the “upper composite,” will be mated atop Soyuz after the workhorse vehicle’s rollout from the MIK integration building, where launcher assembly is handled, to the launch zone.
Scheduled for liftoff on March 27 at precisely 18:46:18 local time in French Guiana (22:46:18 CET), Soyuz will carry out a nearly 3 h. 48min. mission from launch to separation of the two Galileo satellite passengers. Fregat, which is responsible for the final orbital maneuvers, will perform two burns separated by a three-hour-plus ballistic phase to reach the targeted deployment point.