At Vostochny, preparations are continuing for the only launch this year – one of these days Soyuz-2.1b with the Fregat upper stage will launch 36 One Web satellites into orbit. We recently wrote that Roskosmos completed the assembly of the head of the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with the OneWeb satellites array, and then the general assembly. Now almost everything is ready for launch – photos and videos about the installation of the launch vehicle on the launch pad have been published.
On the morning of December 15, the equipped Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle was removed from the technical complex of the Vostochny cosmodrome and installed in the launch system. This will be followed by routine autonomous checks on the launch vehicle, booster and spacecraft systems, as well as general tests. The video above captures a number of moments of delivery and installation of the launch vehicle on the launch pad, including footage taken from the air and some moments with accelerated playback.
To carry out further pre-launch work, a mobile service tower was run over the launch pad. MBO is the tallest structure of the Vostochny cosmodrome at the moment: its height is 52 meters, and its weight is 1600 tons. It is intended for prelaunch preparation of space rockets of the Soyuz-2 family. In the launch facility, the mobile tower moves along two track tracks on four bogies.
Representatives of the management of Roskosmos and its subsidiary Glavkosmos, as well as authorized representatives of foreign customer companies: Arianespace, Starsem and OneWeb, observed the procedure for removing the launch vehicle. On Friday, December 18, 2020, it is planned to refuel the launch vehicle with propellants and launch Soyuz-2.1b with the Fregat upper stage and a batch of 36 spacecraft from the British company OneWeb.
Recall that there was a long hiatus after that, caused by the fact that OneWeb filed for bankruptcy in March. But now it is owned by a consortium of the UK government and India’s Bharti Global, has received additional funding and looks set to complete a project to create a global high-speed satellite Internet access network (similar to SpaceX’s Starlink).
The satellites to be deployed will complement the 74 OneWeb spacecraft launched into low-Earth orbit in three previous successful missions. With the help of Roskosmos, a constellation of 650 satellites operating in the Ka and Ku bands of the radio frequency spectrum will be created.
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