Soyuz reaches the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch zone for Arianespace/Starsem mission with OneWeb satellites

Suspended over the launch pad by four support arms, the Soyuz 2-1b launcher is prepared for its upcoming liftoff with a payload of 34 OneWeb constellation satellites.

February 4, 2020

The completed Soyuz launcher for the next Arianespace/Starsem mission has been delivered to the launch zone at Baikonur Cosmodrome – where it will lift off later this week carrying a payload of 34 OneWeb satellites.

Soyuz was transferred from the MIK launcher assembly facility using a transport/erector rail car during a horizontal transfer process. Once over the launch pad, the vehicle – a Soyuz 2-1b version – was raised into the vertical position, where it is suspended in place by four large support arms.

The upcoming mission – set for liftoff from the cosmodrome at 2:42 a.m. local time on February 7 (21:42 UTC on February 6) – is designated Flight ST27 in Arianespace’s numbering system and will provide a total payload lift performance set at 5,689 kg. into low Earth orbit. It is being conducted by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate.

OneWeb’s mission is to deliver global communications through a next-generation satellite constellation that will bring seamless connectivity around the world. To meet this goal, OneWeb is creating a network composed of low-Earth orbit satellites offering high-speed, low latency services for a wide range of customers in sectors that include aeronautics, maritime, backhaul services, community Wi-Fi, emergency response services and more.

Arianespace at the service of OneWeb

The OneWeb spacecraft for Flight ST27 were built by OneWeb Satellites, the constellation’s prime contractor – which is a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space.

This will be Arianespace’s second launch for the OneWeb constellation, following a mission in February 2019 performed from the Spaceport in French Guiana with Soyuz ST-B launch vehicle configuration that orbited OneWeb’s initial six satellites.

Flight ST27 is paving the way for the OneWeb constellation’s deployment − for which Arianespace is to perform 19 more medium-lift Soyuz launches from three spaceports during 2020 and 2021: the Spaceport in French Guiana, along with the Baikonur and Vostochny Cosmodromes. In addition, OneWeb satellites will be orbited on the maiden flight of Europe’s next-generation Ariane 62 launch vehicle.

See Arianespace/Starsem's ST27 mission activities: