Ten Years of Soyuz Launches at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana

Launch of VS01, first Soyuz ST-B flight from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, on 21 October 2011, carrying the first two satellites of Europe’s Galileo navigation system. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — On 21 October 2011, the first pair of Galileo navigation satellites was launched by a Russian-built Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

The introduction of Russia’s Soyuz 2 rocket to Europe’s Spaceport was a milestone of strategic cooperation in the space transportation sector between Europe and the Russian Federation, and an exciting new opportunity for ESA.

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Japanese Satellite Company Synspective Signs Launch Agreement with Germany’s Exolaunch to Launch the third SAR Satellite StriX-1 on Soyuz-2

Synthetic aperture radar satellite (Credit: Synspective)

TOKYO and BERLIN (Exolaunch PR) – Synspective Inc., a SAR satellite data and analytic solution provider, announced a new Launch Agreement with a small satellite launch services provider, Exolaunch, to launch Synspective’s third demonstration SAR satellite “StriX-1” on a Soyuz-2 launch vehicle in mid-2022. The companies extended their collaboration after signing a launch agreement for the second Synspective’s demonstration SAR satellite “StriX-beta”, which is currently under the final preparations for launch later this year. 

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With Flight ST35 for OneWeb, Arianespace Sets New Mark by Putting More than 1,000 satellites in Orbit

Soyuz-2 launches 34 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)
  • Soyuz Flight ST35 placed 34 more satellites into orbit. Following this 10th launch for OneWeb, Arianespace has deployed 322 satellites for the global connectivity constellation.
  • Ninth successful launches and sixth Soyuz operated by Arianespace and Starsem since the start of the year.
  • With this launch, Arianespace will have deployed 1,021 satellite since its incorporation in 1980.

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Arianespace PR) — Performed on Tuesday, September 14, at precisely 11:07 p.m. local time at Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome (06:07 p.m. UTC), Soyuz Flight ST35 lifted-off with 34 OneWeb satellites onboard, bringing, after the successful deployment, the size of the fleet in orbit to 322. Flight ST35 was the 60th Soyuz mission carried out by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate, and the tenth mission to the benefit of OneWeb.

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Roscosmos Eyes Crewed Flights from French Guiana, Seeks Partners for Lunar Base with China

A Soyuz-2 launches the CSO-2 defense satellite on Dec. 29, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace)
  • Roscosmos head discussed launching cosmonauts from Kourou with French counterpart
  • Russian-Chinese lunar south pole base is rival to planned U.S. facility
  • Russia to begin design work on new Earth orbiting station by late summer

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Roscosmos is exploring the possibility of launching spacecraft from the Guiana Space Centre in South America that would carry cosmonauts to the new Chinese space station and a base that Russia and China plan to build at the lunar south pole, according to media reports. Russia is also beginning work on a new Earth orbiting space station.

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Successful Launch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome

PLESETSK COSMODROME, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — The Aerospace Forces successfully launched the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome. The launch of the carrier rocket and the insertion of the Pion-NKS 1 naval intelligence satellite into the calculated orbit took place in the normal mode. This is reported by the Department of Information and Mass Communications of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

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Launch 2020: Russian Missions Improved in Quality, Declined in Numbers

Soyuz-2 rocket lifts off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

For Russia, 2020 was a mixed year in terms of launch. Once the world’s leader in sending payloads into space, the nation finished a distant third behind the United States and China with only 17 orbital flights. That figure was eight below the 25 launches in 2019, and Russia’s lowest number of the 21st century. The U.S. and China finished with 44 and 39 launch attempts, respectively.

On the bright side, 2020 was the second year in a row in which Russia did not experience a launch failure. That streak came after more a decade during which the Russian launch industry was plagued with multiple fmishaps.

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Launch 2020: A Busy Year Filled with Firsts in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls & Joel Kowsky)

SpaceX dominated, China surged and Russia had another clean sheet as American astronauts flew from U.S. soil again in a year of firsts.

First in a series

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a very busy launch year with a number of firsts in both human and robotic exploration. A total of 114 orbital launches were attempted, with 104 successes and 10 failures. It was the same number of launches that were conducted in 2018, with that year seeing 111 successes, two failures and one partial failure.

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Kymeta Interoperability with Kepler LEO Satellites Promises Powerful Connectivity of the Future with Kymeta u8 Terminal

Kymeta u8 Terminal in Inuvik, Canada during testing with Kepler LEO Satellites. (Credit: Kymeta)

Extended testing in Inuvik, Canada shows Kymeta u8 approaching speeds 10X faster than previous generations in extreme weather conditions and temperatures

Redmond, Wash. and Toronto, Ontario, March 23rd, 2021 (Kymeta/Kepler Communications PR) — Kymeta (www.kymetacorp.com), the communications company making mobile global, and Kepler Communications (www.kepler.space) announced today the successful demonstration of the Kymeta u8 Terminal with LEO satellite acquisition, tracking and throughput measurements, during extreme cold weather temperatures. The collaboration with Kepler supports Kymeta’s goal to develop solutions that are future proof with a clear LEO upgrade path and compatible with growing mega constellations. 

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Dawn Aerospace Launches Eighth In-Space Propulsion Unit

CHRISTCHURCH, NZ, 23 March 2021 (Dawn Aerospace PR) – Dawn Aerospace has announced another of the company’s CubeSat propulsion units, designed to manoeuvre small satellites in space, has been successfully launched.

The CubeSat propulsion unit flew on Hiber Three, an Internet-of-Things (IoT) satellite created by European company Hiber. The satellite was launched on 22 March from Baikonur on a Rosocosmos Soyuz-2 rocket.

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Soyuz-2 to Launch 38 Spacecraft from 18 Countries on March 20

Soyuz-2 rocket lifts off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On March 20, a launch of the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle with the Fregat upper stage is scheduled from the Baikonur Cosmodrome that will deliver 38 spacecraft (SC) from 18 countries into three sun-synchronous orbits:

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Private Space Missions Multiplying Like Rabbits

Crew Dragon docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

With the spate of announcements about private space missions over the past year, it’s easy to lose track of the who, what, where, when, why and how of the flights.

As a public service, Parabolic Arc has collected information about all five of the announced missions.

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Arianespace Closes Out Year with Launch of French Defense Satellite

A Soyuz-2 launches the CSO-2 defense satellite on Dec. 29, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — For its 10th and final launch of the year, Arianespace used a Soyuz rocket to orbit the CSO-2 defense and security observation satellite for the French CNES space agency (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales) and DGA defense procurement agency (Direction générale de l’armement), on behalf of the French armed forces.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches NRO Payload in Record 26th Successful Flight of Year

Falcon 9 launches the NROL-108 mission on Dec. 19, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Saturday, December 19 at 9:00 a.m. EST, Falcon 9 launched the NROL-108 mission from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, completing SpaceX’s 26th and final mission of 2020.

Falcon 9’s first stage booster previously supported launch of SpaceX’s 19th and 20th cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station, a Starlink mission, and the SAOCOM 1B mission.

Following stage separation, SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s first stage on Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida – the 70th landing for SpaceX.

Editor’s Note: SpaceX’s 26 launches is a new record for Elon Musk’s company in a calendar year. It was America’s 44th and final orbital launch attempt of the year. That is the highest number in more than 50 years.

Overall, there have been 110 launch attempts with 10 failures worldwide. Two more launches — Long March 8 from China, and a Soyuz-2 from Kourou — are scheduled before the end of the year. It’s possible China or Russia could conduct additional launches; these countries don’t always announce flights very far in advance.

Soyuz Rocket Deploys 36 OneWeb Satellites on Arianespace’s First Mission from Vostochny Cosmodrome

Soyuz-2 rocket lifts off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Arianespace PR) — OneWeb’s fourth launch overall -the third for 2020- is the first to be conducted with Soyuz by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia.

By successfully placing 36 new OneWeb constellation satellites into orbit, Arianespace resumed the deployment of this client’s satellite network, which now is composed of 110 satellites in low Earth orbit.

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