by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Oct 27, 2016
Preparations are now underway for Arianespace's next flight with its lightweight Vega, set for December 5, with the launcher taking shape at the Spaceport and the mission's GOKTURK-1A payload for Turkey delivered to French Guiana.
The launch vehicle build-up process began with Vega's P80 first stage rollout from the zone where solid propellant stages are prepared at the Spaceport. Riding atop a heavy-duty transporter, the P80 was transferred to the SLV launch site, marking the first step in Vega's assembly process.
Vega's P80 is one of the largest, most powerful one-piece solid-fuel stages ever built. Sized at just under 11 meters tall, this propulsion system has a 3-meter diameter and weighs in at approximately 95 tons.
Vega's first and second stages on the launch pad
The four-stage Vega serves as the lightweight vehicle in Arianespace's launcher family operated from French Guiana. Vega is a European Space Agency (ESA) program, jointly funded by Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden. Avio is the launcher design authority and industrial prime contractor, operating through its Italian subsidiary ELV (in which the Italian space agency ASI has a 30 percent stake).
Since beginning operation at the Spaceport in 2012, all of Vega's previous seven flights have been successful, demonstrating the launcher's capabilities in a variety of mission scenarios.
Gokturk-1A touches down in French Guiana
The spacecraft was delivered yesterday to French Guiana, arriving aboard a chartered Antonov An-124 cargo jetliner at Felix Eboue Airport near the French Guiana capital city of Cayenne. The protective container with Gokturk-1A was unloaded from the four-engine aircraft and readied for its transfer by road to the Spaceport.
Equipped with a high resolution optical instrument, Gokturk-1A has an unfueled mass of approximately 1,070 kg. and will operate from Sun-synchronous orbit.
Thales Alenia Space is responsible for the satellite, joined by Turkish partners that include Tai A.S., Aselsan A.S., Tubitak, Uekae, Roketsan A.S. and TR Tecnoloji.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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