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Processing begins with the Pleiades Neo 3 satellite for Arianespace's next Vega launch
by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Mar 26, 2021

Pleiades NEO satellite illustration.

Payload preparations have begun in French Guiana for Arianespace's next mission - which is to utilize the light-lift Vega in deploying the first Pleiades Neo constellation satellite and other passengers in a piggyback configuration.

Produced by Airbus Defence and Space, Pleiades Neo 3 arrived yesterday at Felix Eboue Airport near Cayenne, then traveled by road to the Spaceport to begin its processing. Liftoff of this Vega mission - designated Flight VV18 in Arianespace's launcher family numbering system - is planned in the coming weeks from the equatorial space base.

Pleiades Neo 3 arrived in French Guiana along with Pleiades Neo 4, the second satellite scheduled to join the Pleiades Neo constellation - which is funded, manufactured, owned, and operated by Airbus Defence and Space. Pleiades Neo 4 will be orbited on the following Arianespace Vega flight.

When fully deployed, Airbus' Pleiades Neo constellation will comprise four identical satellites to provide commercial and institutional customers with high-resolution imaging. Phased at 90 degree and operated in the same orbit, these satellites are to be capable of visiting any point on the globe at least twice daily.

The SSMS program, initiated by the European Space Agency (ESA) with the European Commission's contribution, allows Arianespace to offer ride-share solutions tailored for the small satellite market. Arianespace performed the first SSMS launch using a Vega vehicle in September 2020 - successfully deploying 40-plus small CubeSats and seven microsatellites into Sun-synchronous orbit.

The Small Spacecraft Mission Service dispenser system is an ESA product developed by Italy's Avio under the space agency's leadership, and is produced by the Czech company SAB Aerospace s.r.o. (CZ).

Composed of modular components, the dispenser is assembled to serve as the interface with grouped payloads composed of microsatellites and CubeSats. Capable of accepting a full range of payload combinations, the SSMS configuration has been designed to be as responsive as possible in meeting the launch service market's needs for institutional and commercial customers.

Related Links
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

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EUMETSAT and Arianespace confirm deal to launch of two Meteosat satellites with Ariane 6
Paris, France (SPX) Mar 24, 2021
Today, at the occasion of the World Meteorological Day, EUMETSAT and Arianespace signed an update of their Launch Services Agreement for two Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) satellites. Through this updated agreement, Arianespace is confirmed by EUMETSAT to launch the sounder satellite MTG-S1 and the imager satellite MTG-I2 with Ariane 6, the next generation of Ariane family of launchers. This updated agreement follows EUMETSAT's signature, during December 2020, of the "joint statement on the insti ... read more

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